When I cornered Richard Leakey to ask him about the elephant that had once chased me but had let me go, he responded, “The elephant wasn’t interested in you.” Though clearly anxious to get away after his talk at the National Geographic Society in Washington, DC, he had heard out my tale of how it had stopped once I fell, allowing me to disencumber myself of equipment, get up and run off without being chased. “The elephant simply wanted to examine your cameras.”
I wasn’t important to the elephant. The terror I had felt, the fear, the certainty that I was about to die and the hope that it would be quick and without too much pain meant nothing to it. I wasn’t important enough for it to have any feelings at all about me. It wasn’t demonstrating its power or considering me at all.
After it had happened, I…
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