Written by Julie Taylor
Elephants and the Tsunami – Amid the unbelievable chaos of the Tsunami disaster on December 26th 2004 came an incredible tale from a resort in Phuket and confirms, yet again, the power of instinct and the animal kingdom.
One of the most popular attractions is (was) elephant rides. As many as eight people could sit on one elephant and would tour first into the forest surrounding the hotel and then down to the beach. The tour included lunch at a fresh water lagoon and a lazy ride back to the hotel. The elephants (nine) were kept chained to in-ground posts, not because they needed to be for safety reasons, but because it made the mothers feel better when their children seemed safe from a tromping when feeding the gentle giants.
On that fateful day of the Tsunami, about twenty minutes before the first wave hit, the elephants became extremely restless. Four had just returned from a trip and their handlers had not yet chained them. These five elephants helped the other five tear free from their chains. They wasted no time and climbed a hill and started bellowing. Many people followed them up the hill, puzzled…
Then the waves hit. After the waves subsided, the elephants charged down from the hill, and started picking up children with their trunks and running them back up the hill; when all the children were taken care of, they started helping the adults. They rescued forty- two people.
Then, they returned to the beach and carried up four dead bodies, one of a child. Not until the task was done would they pause and allow their handlers to mount them. Then with handlers atop, they began moving wreckage.
For me this is an amazing story and shows how, despite their not-traditional lives these elephants were still very much in tune with their sharply honed instincts. I believe that nature has so much to share with us, would we simply allow for possibility and open our minds.
Over a quarter of a million people perished in the Boxing Day tsunami, a reminder of the terrifying, sheer power of mother-nature and the folly of ignoring her.
The lovely story above is about Modoc – elephants have a history of being incredible. Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived