An Associated Press photographer who flew over Sri Lanka's Yala National Park in an air force helicopter saw abundant wildlife, including elephants, buffalo, deer, and not a single animal corpse.
Floodwaters from the tsunami swept into the park, uprooting trees and toppling cars onto their roofs [...] but the animals apparently were not harmed and may have sought out high ground, said Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, whose Jetwing Eco Holidays ran a hotel in the park.
"This is very interesting. I am finding bodies of humans, but I have yet to see a dead animal," said Wijeyeratne, whose hotel in the park was totally destroyed in Sunday's tidal surge. "Maybe what we think is true, that animals have a sixth sense."
"The elephants didn't believe the mahouts [who were trying to calm them down]. They just kept running for the hill," said Wit Aniwat, 24, who takes the money from tourists and helps them on to the back of elephants from a sturdy wooden platform.
Those with tourists aboard headed for the jungle-clad hill behind the resort beach where at least 3,800 people, more than half of them foreigners, would soon be killed. The elephants that were not working broke their hefty chains.
"Then we saw the big wave coming and we started running," Wit said.
Around a dozen tourists were also running toward the hill from the Khao Lak Merlin Resort [...]
"The mahouts managed to turn the elephants to lift the tourists onto their backs," Kulada said.
She used her hands to describe how the huge beasts used their trunks to pluck the foreigners from the ground and deposit them on their backs.
"The elders told us that if the water recedes fast it will reappear in the same quantity in which it disappeared," 65-year-old village chief Sarmao Kathalay told the paper.
So while in some places along the southern coast, Thais headed to the beach when the sea drained out of beaches - the first sign of the impending tsunami - to pick up fish left flapping on the sand, the gypsies headed for the hills.
"Last term Mr Kearney taught us about earthquakes and how they can cause tsunamis," Tilly was quoted as saying by The Sun.
"I was on the beach and the water started to go funny. There were bubbles and the tide went out all of a sudden. I recognised what was happening and had a feeling there was going to be a tsunami. I told mummy."
Her intuition was enough to raise the alert and prompt the evacuation of Phuket's Maikhao beach and a neighbouring hotel before the water came crashing in, saving hundreds of people from death and injury.
The girl's geography teacher, Andrew Kearnay from Surrey in northern England, told the paper he had explained to his class that there was about 10 minutes from the moment the ocean draws out before the tsunami strikes.