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Can Animals Show Emotions?

 

A friend of mine commented on a piece by me wherein I had depicted wild animals showing emotions as we humans do. His point was that the humans tend to attribute human emotions to animals and err. I wrote back to him saying this: "I find obliged to say some thing on how animals behave if they are subjected to continuous and irritating human presence. The wild animals of Sariska gather near the artificial waterhole as soon as they hear the clink-clank of a water tanker approaching.

A tourist friendly or as you say - 'indifferent' tiger in Bandhavgarh suddenly leaps into a tourist jeep and punishes some tiger hungry tourists.

 As you would say this type of behavoiur is quite unbecoming of wild animals but unfortunately the most vicious animal on earth has coerced them to imitate human traits.  So, it is quite romantic and poetic (as well as prize winning) to depict animals as unemotional , instinct driven robots created by God but some of us also must remind human beings - mend your ways and show some respect to wild brethrens, we too were roaming in the woods naked not very far back in time.

 

I think all animals that the Almighty has bestowed with a brain cavity and some amount of grey cells, have feelings and emotions. Some people even believe that plants, without apparently anything similar to brain, too, show emotional response to music. This planet is a strange place and we humans have limited abilities (we can hear only within a range of a wave lengths beyond that we call them ultra or infra Sonics which we cannot hear, we can only see up to a certain distance and can see only in day light or artificially created light). Till recently no body knew that elephants communicate with each other with infrasonic waves that travel for several miles.

An acacia species that grows in South Africa sends 'scent alarm' signals to other trees down hill whenever humans attack them with axe.  My dog throws tantrums if I punish him without any solid reason, he would sulk and refuse to eat even his most favourite food. My neighbour's cat purrs whenever she is fondled and caressed. A dog travels a thousand mile to reach his separated master. Dear friend, we human tend to think that nothing living or dead is superior to humans and therefore they believe that - "thinking, feelings and emotions" are prized assets of humans only. Other living things are just 'creature' with instincts. We just forget that man too was a wild creature not too long ago in the geological history of this planet.

Contributing Writer: Suhas Kumar, I am an old man who has seen 52 winters so far. I work as a wildlife professional with the government. And like to speak out on behalf of animals who cannot speak in English or any other human language. @ Suhas Kumar Bhopal sukum48@rediff.com   


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