Monday, October 26, 2009

Local Bird That Can Forewarn Earthquakes - malaysiakini

Forget the hi-tech computers and sensors, it appears that mother nature has provided us with a feathered friend who could warn of imminent earthquakes.

According to Ade Edwar, head of West Sumatra's disaster coordinating agency, the Kuwau (Argusianus) is believed to have an instinct to detect such disasters.

NONEHe said the bird which is one of the Argusianus species, is reportedly able to detect an imminent major earthquake up to two days before it strikes.

"This bird will be acting rather unusual and sings very often which is a sign that a major earthquake is coming," he was quoted as saying in a Bernama report.

Ade said that as the sound of the bird singing may reach as far as up to 1 kilometer, it may be useful to keep a Kuwau as an early earthquake warning system.

"The problem now is that this bird is now very hard to find," he added.

Conduct a scientific study

Ade also said it would be good to conduct a scientific study on the Kuwau's ability to detect a major quake because theoretically a big earthquake is always preceded by an initial small quake.

"If science can prove this, a Kuwau would be a great asset to highly quake-prone regions in the country", he said.

Before the big earthquake struck three weeks ago, Ade was disturbed and restless by his Kuwau singing very loud and too often.

This bird is also quite big, and its length may reach 120 cm weighing up to 11.5 kg. Its feathers are very much like those of a bird of paradise.

"In West Sumatra, the Kuwau is better known as a Ruwai. It is only found in the dense forests of Sumatra, Kalimantan and Malaysia," he added.

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