Monday, August 21, 2006

A very interesting article I came across, about animal behaviour and the weather...

The weatherman's animal instinct: Gone with the wind?

Wildlife experts swear by traditional methods of predicting weather according to animal behaviour even in this scientific age.
It seems that the increasing amount of time we spend in the comforts of our homes or offices has switched off an inherent ability to read the signs that animals give, signifying changes in the weather or impending natural calamity.
By reading their behaviourial signs and monitoring their actions humans can get a clear idea of what the weather has in store for them.
Small things like ants scurrying about with their eggs, birds having a dust bath and spiders making webs in the shade, all signify the onset of rains. Similarly, birds flying low, signal the coming of a storm.
Lucknow Times spoke to some wild life photographers, conservationist, zoo workers and pet lovers to find out if they had experienced unusual behaviour of animals which gave them an inkling about any changes about to take place in the weather.
Noted wildlife photographer Rajesh Bedi says,"I have observed marked changes in the behaviour of the animals if they sense something unnatural. In the Sunderbans, just before a high tide, one can find all the animals, especially tigers climbing on to higher ground or even trees.
This gave us a warning that the tide was about to set in. Just before a storm, the vultures and eagles circle down to a lower height. Even during a solar eclipse, the birds remain in their nests.
So there is no denying that the animals have a very well developed sixth sense. It's something we humans can never comprehend." A thought his brother Naresh seconds. He says,"The birds start nesting just before the monsoons and same is the case with the crocodiles."
Mike Pandey, winner of the Green Oscar and wildlife conservationist also shares the same opinion, "It's incredible how the animals get to know the changes in weather. When the tsunami had struck last year, there were so many human casualties, but hardly any animals died.
It was observed that most of the animals had taken shelter in higher places. That is one odd incident, sceptics would say, but there are innumerable examples where the pets have forewarned their owners about an earthquake or a hurricane.
These animals are more attuned to nature than we give them credit for. Very few studies have been conducted on animal prediction due to the length of observation required, but animals have survived longer than human beings in any condition."
Zoo keeper Mohd. Israr has several interesting anecdotes to share. He says,"Animals have their own ways of protecting themselves from the vagaries of nature. They are rarely caught offguard by nature.
The animals instinctively know when and how the weather will change. Even in captivity, the animals do not lose their inherent instincts. If there's going to be a harsh winter then the bear will make his bed deeper into his cage.
Similarly, earthworms come out of their holes before it rains and the wolf and hyenas starting sniffing the air just before a storm. These are the signs that animals give and it is for us to interpret it and predict changes in weather."
Pallavi Sharma, a dog breeder, says,"Dogs have a very sharp extra sensory perception. In Uttarkashi, where we live, there are quite a few earthquakes, and our three dogs will force us to get out of the house if they feel one's coming.
At times they have forced us out of the house in the middle of the night. There's no explanation to this ability of the animals."

This article © The Times Of India

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