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Animals in danger after tsunami devastation

The tsunami that pounded South Asia last week has created a second tier of victims: animals. Many are homeless, many have died and several are on the brink of death.
PTI | By Associated Press, Bangkok
UPDATED ON JAN 04, 2005 04:05 PM IST

The tsunami that pounded South Asia last week has created a second tier of victims: animals. Dogs are homeless in Thailand. Cows, water buffalo and goats have died in Sri Lanka. A number of farm animals are roaming destroyed grazing land and drinking polluted water since their owners have died, said Sherry Grant, Asia director for Humane Society International.

Humans and animals have a "dynamic connection," Grant said during a three-country tour of Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. "The animals and their well-being ... connect to the humans because they are the providers" and can generate economic recovery, she said. Subsistence farmers "need those cattle, they need those oxen to pull their plows, to work those fields." In India, the Blue Cross told the Humane Society that thousands of dead animals lined beaches after the tsunami struck. It also said that all the animals at the Point Calimere wildlife sanctuary, including 1,800 black buck, were probably dead.

In Thailand, wildlife rescuer Edwin Wiek said there were few victims, except for some overturned sea turtles and two dolphins that were catapulted a kilometer (half-mile) from the Andaman Sea into an inland lagoon.

Dogs are roaming what appear to be their hometowns in Thailand, some of which are devastated and lifeless after the tsunami killed thousands of people in the area. Wiek said volunteers have supplied 800 kilograms (1,764 pounds) of dog food in the last few days. "I think they all knew something was coming and they fled to higher ground," said Wiek, director of the Wildlife Friends of Thailand Rescue Center.

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