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Tsunami adds to belief in animals' "sixth sense"
Reuters ^ | 12/30/04 | Ed Stoddard

Posted on 12/30/2004 3:15:26 AM PST by kattracks

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Wild animals seem to have escaped the Indian Ocean tsunami, adding weight to notions they possess a "sixth sense" for disasters, experts said on Thursday.

Sri Lankan wildlife officials have said the giant waves that killed over 24,000 people along the Indian Ocean island's coast seemingly missed wild beasts, with no dead animals found.

"No elephants are dead, not even a dead hare or rabbit. I think animals can sense disaster. They have a sixth sense. They know when things are happening," H.D. Ratnayake, deputy director of Sri Lanka's Wildlife Department, said on Wednesday.

The waves washed floodwaters up to 3 km (2 miles) inland at Yala National Park in the ravaged southeast, Sri Lanka's biggest wildlife reserve and home to hundreds of wild elephants and several leopards. "There has been a lot of anecdotal evidence about dogs barking or birds migrating before volcanic eruptions or earthquakes. But it has not been proven," said Matthew van Lierop, an animal behaviour specialist at Johannesburg Zoo.

"There have been no specific studies because you can't really test it in a lab or field setting," he told Reuters.

Other authorities concurred with this assessment.

"Wildlife seem to be able to pick up certain phenomenon, especially birds ... there are many reports of birds detecting impending disasters," said Clive Walker, who has written several books on African wildlife.

Animals certainly rely on the known senses such as smell or hearing to avoid danger such as predators.

The notion of an animal "sixth sense" -- or some other mythical power -- is an enduring one which the evidence on Sri Lanka's battered coast is likely to add to.

The Romans saw owls as omens of impending disaster and many ancient cultures viewed elephants as sacred animals endowed with special powers or attributes.

The tsunami was triggered by an earthquake in the Indian Ocean on Sunday. It killed tens of thousands of people in Asia and East Africa.



TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: sumatraquake; wildlife
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To: FormerACLUmember

I would agree with your analysis as you would assume there would be little or nothing for an animal at sea side. My first thought was most animals don't have hands and therefore were swept out to sea. I mean, how could you prove it, although I believe it's been proven that dogs have a sense prior to an earthquake happening...


21 posted on 12/30/2004 4:21:29 AM PST by Mean Daddy
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To: BernardSumner
"to give them a fairer chance when we blast at them with shot guns you mean?"

Yeah ... I know what you mean. Cruel isn't it?

Why I haven't mowed my lawn, or weed whacked since I discovered I was killing lizards and bugs, not to mention the torture I was inflicting on the grass and weeds. ;)

22 posted on 12/30/2004 4:22:26 AM PST by G.Mason (A war mongering, UN hating, military industrial complex loving, Al Qaeda incinerating American.)
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To: kattracks
I think humans have this un-magical sixth sense; it's just a matter of tuning in.

I feel tremblors all the time that nobody else seems to notice....and confirmed in the news broadcasts later in the day.

My eyes are bad, and my hearing, impaired; but a walk in the woods with company, and I'm the one pointing out the birds and flowers and animals. I see and hear...and especially smell things.....that others don't click on. I think it's cuz folks are having internal dialogue, and missing subtle clues all around them. Animals don't have chats with themselves in their heads. Survival depends on analysis of environment.

My theory is that one can train one's self to a hightened state of permanent alertness. I spent many years on a walking beat in the city....wee hours, totally outwardly focused, looking, listening, smelling, making sub-conscious notes. It becomes a mode after a while. I think soldiers must get this happening, too. Fishermen get it: survival, in all three examples, depends on analysis of environment.

23 posted on 12/30/2004 4:23:13 AM PST by dasboot
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To: Glenn

Actually, most animals can swim instinctively. Many people, especially the young and third world women can't.


24 posted on 12/30/2004 4:26:20 AM PST by DB ()
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To: DB

Apparently, third-world women are designated by the Creator as floats for third-world men, from what I've read.


25 posted on 12/30/2004 4:28:07 AM PST by dasboot
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To: FormerACLUmember

Bingo!


26 posted on 12/30/2004 4:36:22 AM PST by BunnySlippers (Happy Festivus ...)
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To: dasboot

I doubt Muslim women in particular are ever given the opportunity learn to swim.


27 posted on 12/30/2004 4:40:45 AM PST by DB ()
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To: DB
I recall an account of an Anglo-gal who survived the tipping of one of those notoriously overloaded ferry boats in the Asian-Pacific region:

She recalls the men stripping life jackets from the women and climbing atop swimming women, drowning them, to save themselves. The author related it to cultural pecularities....probably Islam.....maybe else?

Reader's Digest....some years ago.

28 posted on 12/30/2004 4:50:51 AM PST by dasboot
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To: FormerACLUmember
Leave it to the academics.......guess it never occurred to them that there was very little likelihood of elephants romping on the beaches amongst the tourists.
29 posted on 12/30/2004 4:55:06 AM PST by OldFriend (PRAY FOR MAJ. TAMMY DUCKWORTH)
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To: kattracks
Many years ago we had a Golden Retriever. The sun would be shining, not a cloud in the sky, and she'd run for the barn. You would know a storm was on the way. She wouldn't hide for a normal rain shower, only lightening and thunder storms.

She was right every time.
30 posted on 12/30/2004 5:02:35 AM PST by kassie ("It's the soldier who allows freedom of speech, not the reporter..")
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To: kattracks
Humans have a similar "6th sense," only it causes a different reaction in them.

There's a tornado; let's chase it. A hurricane is coming; let's go surfing. Here comes an ice storm; let's go driving in our 4WD at 50 MPH. Etc.

31 posted on 12/30/2004 5:03:56 AM PST by aardvark1 (Something was seared in my memory but I forgot what it was.)
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Comment #32 Removed by Moderator

To: EBH

Do they have a final estimate of exactly how far inland and how high the water was when it reached it? Also how long did it take to recede?


33 posted on 12/30/2004 5:28:12 AM PST by JBCiejka
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To: kassie

The cats in my wife's mother's house would one day go crazy, charging about, knocking things over, hiding, not coming out even for food. Within twenty-four hours there would be news of an earthquake somewhere in the world. Never failed.


34 posted on 12/30/2004 5:34:00 AM PST by elcid1970
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To: dasboot

When that ferry sunk in the Baltic ten years ago or so, men did the same thing, climbing over women and shrieking children. Nearly all the few survivors were men between 20 and 40.

What got me was that drifting Dominican boat a few month back, and the men started forcing women to suckle them, biting at their breasts, first the nursing women, and then the rest of them.

Chivalry seems well and truly dead, all over.

Mrs VS


35 posted on 12/30/2004 5:44:01 AM PST by VeritatisSplendor
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To: JBCiejka

"Do they have a final estimate of exactly how far inland and how high the water was when it reached it? Also how long did it take to recede?"

Naw, they don't have that info yet. I'd think it's still much too early for those kinds of details. There are several articles out there floating around about Yala National Park. One is Reuters and the other is an AP. I think the AP reporter had a flyover of the park. The park is 103+ hectacres with only 56 open to the public, so it's pretty large. Since they were doing flyovers, I'm sure there was some sort of an initial assessment going on that led to the reports.


36 posted on 12/30/2004 5:48:09 AM PST by EBH (A very proud Aunt of a US Marine in Fallujah)
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To: FormerACLUmember

"There is an old saying: Those who know the sea, do not live by the sea."

What a crock. I'll be sure to tell that to the next 4th generation commercial fisherman I run across down on the NC coast.


37 posted on 12/30/2004 5:52:17 AM PST by Rebelbase (Who is General Chat?)
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To: EBH
I read that it was about 500 acres. You'd think somebody would have noticed a mass exodus of the animal kingdom. Elephants especially. I said it on another thread, sorta brings to mind a scene out of jumanji. It is weird that so few critters from the animal kingdom or marine life have been found dead.
38 posted on 12/30/2004 6:01:13 AM PST by exhaustedmomma (Tancredo said Bush's guest-worker proposal is "a pig with lipstick")
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To: kattracks

39 posted on 12/30/2004 6:02:38 AM PST by Rebelbase (Who is General Chat?)
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To: nmh

My weather barometer (NC) isn't the clueless weather people on TV - but the birds in the yard. Watch for them to go crazy feeding and you know snow is REALLY coming in 24 hrs..


40 posted on 12/30/2004 6:06:26 AM PST by Swanks
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