Skip to comments.Tsunami adds to belief in animals' "sixth sense"
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.
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...
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. ;)
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.
Actually, most animals can swim instinctively. Many people, especially the young and third world women can't.
Apparently, third-world women are designated by the Creator as floats for third-world men, from what I've read.
I doubt Muslim women in particular are ever given the opportunity learn to swim.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
"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.
"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.
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..
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