The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on
its face, stared at him for several tense moments. Mikele stood frozen,
thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant
trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away. Mikele never forgot that
elephant or the events of that day.
Twenty years later, Mikele was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his
teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the
creatures turned and walked over to near where Mikele and his son Tapu
were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Mikele, lifted its
front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that
several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.
Remembering the encounter in 1986, Mikele couldn’t help wondering if
this was the same elephant. Mikele summoned up his courage, climbed
over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right
up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. The elephant trumpeted
again, wrapped its trunk around one of Mikele’s legs and slammed him
against the railing, killing him instantly.
Probably wasn’t the same elephant.