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Animals behave abnormally after the earthquake
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It is often said that animals can sense a coming earthquake. Is there any truth in this? How did animals behave before, during and after the Sichuan earthquake? A Xinhua reporter visited the Chengdu Zoo in search of answers.

At 6:30 PM on May12, the reporter arrived at the zoo, the city having experienced an earthquake that afternoon. No visitors were to be seen, but things were still very noisy because of the unusual behavior of the animals.

Some places in the zoo were quiet; others not at all. In the Parrot House the birds were squawking in an unusual manner. They seemed very anxious and were struggling to escape.

Mr. Wu, the zoo's Breeder of Birds, spoke about what had happened in the afternoon: "The Bird House began to shake violently at about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, which made the baby parrots and peacocks flee in disorder. Fortunately the door was closed, or else they would have escaped."

"Inside the Penguin House, the water in the pool suddenly began to churn and the frightened penguins had no idea where to run", Wu said.

In the Orangutan House, the tame orangutans become violent, using all their strength to bang on the door and shake the iron chains.

Many keepers in the zoo said there were no abnormal signs before the earthquake. "Only after the earthquake, some animals behaved very unusually. I've never seen them like this before", Wu said.

The zoo has already adopted emergency measures to ensure the safety of the animals. Big animals such as elephant, hippopotamus and giraffe have been removed from their glass cages to safer places. All the animals are secure, and no problems have been reported in Chengdu's panda breeding research base.

(China.org.cn by Xiang Bin, May 13, 2008)

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