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Mary the Elephant

Mary the Elephant

Mary the Elephant
Mary the Elephant

What are the Odds?
Circa 1984, Kenya

Diana Steel and her family were our Discovery Beach House guests in 2013. After her son Simon studied our web site, he called.

“I think you may have something in common with my mother,” Simon said. “She used to work with elephants in Kenya.”

I was skeptical. “We only knew one elephant in Kenya and that was 30 years ago. She was an orphan at the Mt. Kenya Safari Club animal orphanage. Her name was Mary.”

Simon was quiet for a moment then said, “I think my mother knew Mary.”

We had told Mary’s story many times over the years. She had made friends with a baby giraffe and a young ostrich at the orphanage. The giraffe and the ostrich would plaster themselves to Mary’s side and the three of them would promenade around the compound together. Giraffes and ostriches mature much quicker than elephants and Mary’s friends eventually left her for the wild. But they never forgot Mary. Once a year, on a schedule known only to themselves, the giraffe and the ostrich would return to the orphanage to visit Mary. They would plaster themselves to her side and promenade around the compound for hours until the call of the wild would draw them back to places Mary could only dream of.

The Steel family invited us over soon after they arrived at our vacation home in Costa Rica. It turned out Diana had known Mary. “She was adopted by an elephant named Eleanor,” Diana said handing us a photo. “Mary returned to the wild with Eleanor.”

David and I were elated by the happy ending to Mary’s story. What were the odds that a British family would travel to Costa Rica, stay in our vacation rental home and we would have an elephant friend in common from more than 30 years ago?

We will always treasure this photo, Diana Steel. Thank you. 

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