Can snakes predict earthquakes? According to Jiang Weisong snakes would be able to predict earthquakes. The scientist was the project manager of the Nanning Earthquake Bureau that monitored the behavior of these reptiles raised on a commercial farm.
According to the expert, the reptiles would be able to feel an earthquake even from 100 kilometers. So Weisong, Chinese scientist said it some time ago. Snakes, when such a catastrophic event occurs, have an unusual behavior: they try to save themselves by coming out of their nests, even during the middle of winter.
If the earthquake promises to be particularly strong, the animals hurl themselves against the walls of the enclosures within which they were kept, to look for an escape route. According to Jiang Weisong, this earthquake prediction system could be extended to many other areas of China, often devastated by large-scale earthquake events.
In short, surely in the country where snakes are used for therapeutic purposes and for traditional medicine, they may have received a new purpose.
Québec has authorized the hunt for gray seals
Meanwhile we told you how Canadian province of Québec has authorized the hunt for gray seals on the island of Brion, seals then destined for scientific purposes.
The authorities have announced that the entire hunting season will be the subject of scientific observations and complementary to a research project led by Professor Stéphane Boudreau, head of the Department of Biology at Laval University.
Minister of the Environment and Combating Climate Change Benoit Charette announced the authorization for the killing. The number of seals that will be sacrificed, as well as the modalities that will be allowed to hunt them, have not yet been decided.
At the moment it is only known that the first gray seals could be killed during the winter of 2021, but it is not specified whether in the first or last months of next year. The area where pinnipeds can be killed has not yet been established, but a part of the beach that is part of the island's nature reserve, where a large colony is located, will probably be affected of these animals.
The colony of gray seals has increased considerably on Brion Island, and scientists want to understand if the growing number of specimens can cause problems for local flora and fauna. According to the seal hunters, the government concession would not be sufficient to stem the problem of the colony's growth, while environmental groups protest against the decision.
The very practice of hunting, however, due to the panic unleashed among fleeing animals, in turn can lead to the destruction of the delicate ecosystem of the dunes, so the scientists want to evaluate the impact of both factors involved.
Laval stressed that the stomach contents of at least 30 or 40 specimens killed will be examined for ad hoc investigations, and the muscle tissue of pinnipeds will probably also be studied. The research project is expected to last 3 years and also includes the installation of cameras to observe the evolution of the colony and its impact on the balance of the ecosystem.
“We want to see if this seal, since the founding of the colony, has had an impact on the dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems, in particular on the island's dune ecosystems, where some species of fauna or flora considered vulnerable live,” said Professor Laval.
In simple terms, the large pinnipeds would be destroying several threatened species, the reduction of which can have an impact on the entire equilibrium of the island ecosystem.