From Yahoo News
“The strange thing is we haven’t recorded any dead animals,” H.D. Ratnayake, deputy director of the national Wildlife Department, told Reuters Wednesday.
“No elephants are dead, not even a dead hare or rabbit,” he added. “I think animals can sense disaster. They have a sixth sense. They know when things are happening.”
It should be noted that:
Researchers around the world continue to pursue the idea, however. In September 2003 a medical doctor in Japan made headlines with a study that indicated erratic behavior in dogs, such as excessive barking or biting, could be used to forecast quakes.
There have also been examples where authorities have forecast successfully a major earthquake, based in part on the observation of the strange antics of animals. For example, in 1975 Chinese officials ordered the evacuation of Haicheng, a city with one million people, just days before a 7.3-magnitude quake. Only a small portion of the population was hurt or killed. If the city had not been evacuated, it is estimated that the number of fatalities and injuries could have exceeded 150,000.
The Haicheng incident is what gave people hope that earthquakes might be predictable, says Michael, and what prompted the animal behavior studies by the USGS.
It was later discovered, though, that a rare series of small tremors, called foreshocks, occurred before the large quake hit the city.
“It was the foreshock sequence that gave (Chinese officials) the solid prediction,” Michael said.
Still, the Chinese have continued to look at animal behavior as an aid to earthquake prediction. They have had several notable successes and also a few false alarms, said Rupert Sheldrake, a biologist and author of the books, Dogs that Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home and The Sense of Being Stared At.
A reproducible connection between animal behavior and earthquakes could be made, he said, but “as the Chinese have discovered, not all earthquakes cause unusual animal behavior while others do. Only through research could we find out why there might be such differences.”
Sheldrake did his own study looking at animal reactions before major tremors, including the Northridge, California, quake in 1994, and the Greek and Turkish quakes in 1999.
In all cases, he said, there were reports of peculiar behavior beforehand, including dogs howling in the night mysteriously, caged birds becoming restless, and nervous cats hiding.
Geologists, however, dismiss these kinds of reports, saying it’s “the psychological focusing effect,” where people remember strange behaviors only after an earthquake or other catastrophe has taken place. If nothing had happened, they contend, people would not have remembered the strange behavior.
I gotta wonder what the animals were up to earlier that day before the earthquake & tsunami. I also wonder if some sage people noticed the animals moving to higher ground and decided to follow them, I’d like to think I would have.