Were bison fleeing the earthquake?

Some believe wildlife has a sixth sense for detecting natural disasters before they hit. Video of a herd of bison stampeding down a highway in Yellowstone National Park has some questioning whether they're just running, or running for their lives.

We've seen it before in nature documentaries: flamingos suddenly and inexplicably flee hours before a tsunami while water buffalo stampede away from the sea.

So maybe it's not surprising that a video started a stampede of rumors, captioned "alert! Yellowstone buffalo running for their lives," it was posted a week and a half before an earthquake measuring 4.7 rattled Yellowstone this past Sunday.

"We get some pretty wild rumors out there," said Al Nash, public affairs chief for Yellowstone National Park.

Especially because Yellowstone is sitting on what's called a super volcano, which explains all the bubbling and spraying, and if the super volcano ever blew, it would explode with the force 10 times that of Mount St. Helens.

We never discovered who posted the running bison video and some call it fake, but it caught the eye of survivalists.

Park officials are ready to knock down the theories.

"Those bison are running because that's what they do every day in Yellowstone. This is the time of the year when bison naturally migrate in and out through the park," said Jake Lowenstern, scientist-in-charge at Yellowstone Volcano Observatory.

Migrating to forage, the scientist in charge of the Yellowstone volcano observatory says despite recent seismic activity.

"We don't anticipate an eruption anytime soon," said Lowenstern.

And as for the running bison?

"We don't find this very convincing new evidence," he said.

If you want a predictor of seismic activity, maybe you should ask Redwood ants. A three year German study of ants living in mounds on a fault line showed that the ants moved out of their mounds right before earthquakes measuring 2.0 and up.

But wait a minute, which way were those buffalo going?

"I know exactly where those bison were headed because it's about 100 yards from my house. They were headed back into the park," said Lowenstern.

Towards the super volcano?

"They are running into the park," he said. "If I stayed on the phone with you for 15 min longer I can probably point the camera out the window and show you a bison running down my cul-de-sac."

Talk about a story hitting a dead end. Wherever they're headed, at least those bison know enough to run in the right lane and pass on the left.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment