Does Proximity to nature enhance the sense of detecting danger?

SatyaKam Ray

Before any danger of natural calamities, animals somehow get a subtle hint about an imminent event. The following examples are testimonies of strange animal behavior.

  • In the second largest national park of Srilanka, Yala National Park, elephants were seen running away to the higher grounds before the Tsunami hit the coastal lands. Similar incidents were reported in Thailand also. Not only elephants, even bats, dogs, and other zoo animals behaved strangely before the incident.
  • Before any earthquake, dogs, elephants, lemurs, and other animals become restless and try to run to a safer place. According to Friedmann T. Freund, a research scientist at the SETI Institute, animals in Peru’s Yanachaga National Park disappeared weeks before a 7.0 magnitude quake hit the region in 2011.
  • The glacier meltdown and subsequent flood in the Alakananda river in Uttarakhand took many lives, unaware of the coming danger. But surprisingly, the fish were not swimming deep inside the river and stuck to the banks as if they knew something was wrong before the incident.

Considering the instances, some questions might pop out in rational minds.

  • Do animals possess a sixth sense? Can they predict earthquakes much before the seismograph can read? Do they have a strong sense of alarm system, much more sophisticated than human beings?
  • The ability to react to prescient natural calamities or attacks in the case of animals is pretty much better than compared of human beings. Does this unique ability come from the proximity to nature in general?
  • From the beginning, do humans also possess such special natural abilities but, with time, lose their connection with nature?

Few scientific theories have been put forward to answer some of the above questions. But the puzzle remains unsolved and needs further clarification and research from the scientific community.

  • Before the shocking earthquake wave, a pressure wave(P-wave) arrives in advance. Animals like elephants can sense this P-wave and vibration and run wildly after that.
  • Some researchers propose that the earth’s magnetic field is affected by the slight change in the earth’s plate displacement, which occurs in the case of earthquakes. It’s believed that animals can sense these minor magnetic field variations.
  • Aquatic animals are widely believed to sense the disturbance in inter-sea water currents; this acts as a dangerous signal for tsunamis—even the groundwater changes just before any flood. 

But most of the scientific community is unconvinced about such theories and assumptions. Only a few anecdotal shreds of evidence are present to support the claims. Serious field experiments also have been done to verify the truth behind strange animal behavior within controlled environments, but with no result.

Human and nature interaction:

From the very start, human beings started their community living in the jungle itself. With the rapid industrialization and insane desire to live in the concrete jungle of cities and towns, many people have forgotten their way around nature. Still, many people spend their lives in nature, depending on the jungle for food and shelter. They are well aware of the rules of nature and often stand as a custodian guardian for the preservation of the same in case of any destruction. The inclination to look for natural medicine for illnesses and prevent their children and family from impending danger can often be found among these forest-dwellers. Many claims that these secluded people are wary of strangers and are often ill-equipped with modern tech. Tools and apparatus. But, the attachment to nature is inherent among the tribal people as it’s passed on as heritage.

The ability to look for clear danger signals laid out by nature is dwindling among urban people. In the Alakananda river flood, where the fishes were gathered on the banks, very few people noticed that the watercolor had turned grey from blue in the middle of the river. Similarly, before the devastating Tsunami, the water on the beaches has gone back some half or 1 kilometer into the sea. The beach surfers were chilling then without realizing what would happen next.

The human and nature interaction saga goes back many centuries. Interestingly, the so-called less civilized tribal people understand the danger signals more than the modern scientific equipment. During the Tsunami incident, not a single person died in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands as they were well aware of the situation. The tribals in the Amazon rain forests have also survived many natural calamities. Tribals who follow shamanism in North America spend a large chunk of their lifetime trying to blend in with nature, just like wild animals.

Road Ahead?

Indeed, it’s tough to connect with nature like the shamanism followers. But few steps can be taken to bridge the gap a little bit.

  • Building tree-houses in the nearby forest as a second-dwelling place is a beautiful idea. Many takers of this modern idea find solace in nature and deeply connect with Mother Earth.
  • Camping and trekking activities among the youth should be carried out to bring awareness of nature. However, garbage collection and the cleanliness of the camping site should be taken care of.
  • ‘connect with nature’ programs should be organized frequently to create curiosity among young minds. Seminars, workshops, and small treks can be considered to teach the kids more about nature.

So, next time the pet dogs start barking hysterically in loud voices, it’s a clear sign that something is wrong. Not necessarily an earthquake because no scientific link has been proven yet. It can be any general danger also. But as responsible nature lovers, we should heed the signs nature gives as warnings before any disaster because proximity to nature enhances the sensitivity to detect dangers.


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