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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Animal magic: Gorillas, elephants and lemurs sensed huge East Coast earthquake from their zoo cages before it struck


Sixth sense: A gorilla named Mandara (right) gave a yell and gathered up her baby, Kibibi (left), before the earthquake hit at the National Zoo in Washington DC

Animals at zoos across the East Coast showed signs of distress up to 15 minutes before the huge earthquake struck, leaving $100m worth of damage.

Keepers at the National Zoo in Washington DC say that red-ruffed lemurs started barking an alarm call a quarter of an hour before Richter scales leapt at 1.51pm yesterday.

And about three seconds before the ground started to shake, the zoo's gorilla Mandara gave a yell, gathered up her baby, Kibibi, and then climbed a tree.

Zookeepers said Iris the Orangutan started 'belch vocalising' before the earthquake started, and did not stop until it was over, while a 64-strong flock of flamingos huddled together ahead of humans noticing anything was wrong.

Open space: Workers stand in Foley Square park in New York after the earthquake

A pride of lions had the foresight to walk to away from the shelter in advance of the quake hitting.

Elsewhere, at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, the dolphins - in the midst of a training session - began to swim away from their trainers, paired up and began swimming rapidly around the tank about 10 seconds before the seismic waves began.

And closer to the epicentre, the Richmond Zoo in Virgina says the chimps began 'acting up and hollering' before the quake began.

Aghast: People who came out on the street after an earthquake look up at a window that cracked during the quake on Market Street in Philadelphia

'Animals we know from experimental studies, can hear above and below our range of hearing, that's part of their extra-sensory abilities,' said Don Moore, associate director of animal care at the National Zoo.

'They are responding to danger,' said Brandie Smith from the National Zoo. 'So when there is danger present, a lot of animals go to the place where they are safest from danger.'

The remarkable reports surfaced as it emerged that the earthquake has devastated historic buildings, causing a huge $100million in damage.

Shattered: Part of the library's roof crumbled during the 5.9 magnitude earthquake

Terrifying tremors were felt throughout the north east causing buildings from Washington D.C. through New York City to Toronto, Canada, to be evacuated yesterday for fear of collapse.

The 5.8 magnitude earthquake, which originated in Virginia, brought panic to the Pentagon and the White House, and sparked fears that the iconic Washington Monument would fall.

The huge structure, which was said to have tilted because of the shudder, cracked because of the earthquake and has since been closed indefinitely to the public for immediate repairs.

Gathered: People gather for safety in a garden in Lower Manhattan after the earthquake in Virginia was felt in New York

source: dailymail


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