Animals Can Predict Natural Disasters

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

Animal Reactions Anticipate Significant Events

One way that animals serve humans – if we read their signals – is through their sensing and responding to impending weather and seismic events. As discussed on The Economist Website, in an article called “Can Animals Predict Earthquakes?” some animals, especially birds and bats, seem to detect changes in the earth’s magnetic fields. “The idea that animals can forecast earthquakes is not a new one: the notion occurred to the Romans. For more than 2,000 years, people have reported unusual animal behavior just minutes or hours before powerful seismic events.”

Many birds can detect pressure changes, and all kinds of animals have been seen to be running, in anticipation of a big hurricane or tsunami. If we are observant of these unusual patterns, we can use the signals as an early warning system.

One Geologist, Jim Berkland, who accurately predicted the San Francisco earthquake of 1989, is quoted in The Economist article as saying he has gathered statistics and noticed that there was an increase in missing pet ads just prior to the event, and hypothesizes that the dogs were sensing the impending quake and running for safer ground.

Even trapped Koi fish in a pond, huddled together hours before the Los Angeles earthquake. There are many reports of animals behaving strangely before the quake. Although conventional scientists have yet to prove this, thousands of anecdotal reports, create a body of evidence. In some countries, such as China, this is taken more seriously. The rural population has been trained to watch these predictive behaviors, and take protective behavior, and in just one instance, of an earthquake, this is estimated to have saved 200,000 thousands of lives in China.

This video is an excerpt from a PBS Documentary on how animals anticipated the December 26th, 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, which killed over a quarter of a million people. Flamingos flew for cover hours before. Buffalo stampeded up a hill, followed by villagers who followed them and survived by minutes.

Elephants used to give tourists rides refused to head on a road that would put them in danger. Their feet and ears are very sensitive, and they may have felt the sensations of the approaching tidal wave that claimed over 300,000 people. The animals who were free to move -- did not die. They may have felt the vibrations of the impending disaster.

This documentary demonstrates how animals may be able to detect unusual impending disasters. Some Thai fisherman noticed that roosters crowed at 2 AM, instead of at dawn, as they usually did, and due to ancestral knowledge, they were able to correctly interpret this as a predictor of the impending Tsunami.

Rupert Sheldrake, author of Dogs that Know When Their Owners Are COming Home - And Other Explained Powers of Animals has gone further than conventional science to explain why animals may anticipate disaster. He has documented hundreds of examples of how animals unusual behavior can be a strong predictor of an impending natural disaster. While he believes more study is needed, he goes beyond the five senses that are often mentioned by conventional scientists. He has sited examples of non-natural disasters such as air raids, deaths, and other catastrophes that animals also anticipate.

Here is a banned Ted Talk "The Science Delusion" with Ruppert Sheldrake where he explores ideas that scientists are not yet ready to accept. It is quite interesting and eye- opening as he questions some of the core ideas of conventional science.

Genie Joseph, PhD

Director: The Human-Animal Connection


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