Can animals detect an impending natural disaster? Yes, if experts studying the behaviour of animals during Tsunami are to be believed. Animal Planet’s special programme ‘Tsunami: Animal Instinct’ studies how animals, led by their natural survival instincts, saved themselves and possibly humans when the killer Tsunami waves struck South Asia last December. The show will go on air on June 27 (Monday) at 11 pm.
A screening of the edited version of the one-hour show was held in Chennai yesterday. A press release quoting Raja Balasubramaniam, Brand Director, Discovery Networks India, said, “Animal instincts and senses proved to be far more effective than any man-made warning systems. Humans also have an intuitive side, but we often cloud it by our intellect. We tend to rationalise things, while an animal senses something and simply reacts to it.”
The show captures how this instinctive reaction led animals across the region to move to safer spots moments before the killer waves crashed ashore. The show also captures at least two instances of how animals might have saved human lives. Analysts study how Dolphins may led five boats with divers at sea further away from the islands, helping them avoid crashing into the shore to an imminent death in one case. In another instance, a child was riding an elephant on the beach, which suddenly started running away from the sea. Minutes later, it was realised that in saving itself, thanks to its natural instinct, the animal had also saved the child from being engulfed by the waves.
The show attempts to get the views of environmentalists from across the region on animal instincts. The study, conducted by an Animal Planet crew across continents, commenced soon after Tsunami struck. The archives of the channel have supplemented the fresh content, and the channel spokesman confirmed that none of the visuals have been ‘re-created’.
The show explains that there is a lot for man to learn from animals when it comes to acting on instinct. And animal instinct, in this case, may well have made the difference between life and death for many.