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Tsunami adds to belief in animals' "sixth sense"

As the staggering human death toll from the tsunami exceeds 115,000, this information about how animals got away from the wave of death is interesting. It’s obvious that they possess more powerful senses that alerted them to get out of harm’s way. (Reuters):

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.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding