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Cows and Tsunami

(c) By Forest Ang

....It could be the day when it was too late for us....

Our cameras were clicking at nothing but the openness. We were at a tsunami hit seaside along the coast of Satun, Thailand which holds a very interesting panoramic scene. I could not see the end of the beach. It stretched for miles. The villages along the coast were not protected from tsunami. There were no mangroves and no islands to halt the rushing tsunami. The caring Thai government had built a tsunami evacuation road along the long stretch of open unprotected beach. Signs were put up in Thai and English advising the directions to safety.

tsunami evacuation signboard
The Tsunami Evacuation Signboard

We were cruising along this road as the sun was setting. Cows (include bulls too) were crossing the road toward the beach. There were no zebra crossings but anyway, the cows just crossed without bothering about us. They knew that they outnumbered us. We stopped for them. Not just a few cows but by hundreds and from everywhere along the stretch of beach. An army of cows - that would be an appropriate description.

cows along the coast
A section of the cows along the coast

There were buffalos and goats too but they were only a handful. They headed toward the tide. It was low tide and the sea had resided to some 300 meters away from the high tide mark where we stood. They were not drinking sea water. They were not cleaning their feet of leeches. They were just standing there admiring the sun set. Are they to "sung see" (commit suicide)? I asked myself. What attracted them to the sea? Why were they standing there? Were they praying for peace for mankind? Were they thanking God for a good day of no tsunami? There were many questions ringing my head. But for sure they were telling us something.

Animals have instinct. I read about the story of how a herd of elephants ran to higher ground before the tsunami strike in Thailand. In Indonesia, there were hardly any carcasses of animals among the corpses. Don't you think animals are intelligent? Don't you think animals hold the key to our survival? Yet, day after day and time after time you see human killing animals unnecessarily. Road kills because of human's development. Wild animals were being hunted. Jungles were logged. Forests were cleared. Habitats were destroyed. Ecosystem decimated. Animals have no where to go. Conflict of humans and animals exploded. Who are we to blame?

Humans are humans and we are intelligent (and so they said!). Cows are cows and they are animals (they also said this). A line had been drawn. Animals will forever be animals and humans will forever be humans. But let's not take them for granted. They could be our future link to human's survival. Their animals' instinct will one day help us to understand ourselves. It could be the day when it was too late for us.

Forest Ang
1 Sept 2006


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All photographs by Forest Ang unless mentioned.
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