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Can Dogs Really Predict Earthquakes?

In Lima, Peru, dogs are playing a critical role in a new approach to early earthquake warnings and public safety.

Around the world, earthquakes have a devastating impact on communities and their livelihoods. Peru is a known seismic zone, due to its location along the Pacific Ring of Fire. Despite many advances in the field, there is still no technology to date that can predict earthquakes reliably. That may be about to change, thanks to dogs.

A collaboration of experts in the animal care, technology, science, and media sectors have launched an innovative approach to early earthquake warnings and public safety in Lima, Peru. Animal Alerts is a project to develop the first earthquake warning system powered animal health monitoring technology from Birmingham, MA-based PetPace.

“There is an urgent need for innovative approaches to warn the public before an earthquake. Especially since Lima’s infrastructure is extremely vulnerable to seismic activity,” said Carlos G. Brown, Disaster Risk Management Expert, TECHO Peru. “And so, a timely alert from Animal Alerts could help save countless lives.”

Dogs Earthquake Warnings
Photo: Animal Alerts

The first phase of the project is now underway, and is being advised by Dr. Rachel Grant, a behavioral ecologist and senior lecturer at the London South Bank University. Using the PetPace smart collar, a dogs’ health data is collected and analyzed for correlation to earthquakes. The goal is to use this data to develop a system to alert residents via different media channels.

“It’s been shown in many systematic studies that animals often behave differently prior to earthquakes,” explained Dr. Grant. Dogs are particularly useful models of this phenomenon due to their acute senses and their proximity to humans.

“Animal Alerts, with the use of PetPace AI technology, allows us, for the first time, to collect reproducible physiological data in real time which could help with short term earthquake risk forecasting,” she added.

Dogs & Technology Team Up To Predict Earthquakes
Dogs Earthquake Warnings
Photo: Animal Alerts

Designed to ensure comfort for pets, the PetPace smart collar collects vital health data through its electrode-free, non-invasive sensors. Data such as pulse, temperature, respiration etc. are recorded in real-time. Based on these parameters and AI algorithms developed by the PetPace science team, the dog’s stress level is determined. When multiple dogs in various locations within Lima show an anomalous increase in stress level at the same time, this could be an indication of an impending earthquake.

“PetPace is focused on continuously monitoring the physiological and behavioral data of dogs to ensure their well-being,” explained Dr. Asaf Dagan, Chief Scientist and Cofounder, PetPace.” “The same data can be harnessed with the aim of protecting communities.”

Spreading The Word

To help spread the word of a possible earthquake, Animal Alerts has formed media partnerships with Mediaplus Group and Reset Media to broadcast alerts through geo-targeted messages on digital billboards, web, mobile, and radio. Pet nutrition experts in Lima are helping out with retail promotions that call for volunteers to join the program. Further information and ways for people to participate is available via a website.

“This initiative not only showcases an innovative use of technology, but also emphasizes the deep connection between humans and their pets, leveraging this bond for protecting the community,” commented Alex Schill, Chief Creative Officer, Serviceplan Group.

“Growing up in a country like Peru, where seismic activity is constant, this idea becomes a really valuable tool,” said Rolando Cordova, Chief Creative Officer, L&C Lima-NYC.

Click here for more news and insights about preparing for natural disasters.

Animal Alerts, Business Continuity, disaster recovery, Dogs, Earthquake Predictions, Earthquakes, Emergency Preparedness, Lima, Natural Disasters, Peru, PetPace, Public Safety, technology, TECHO Peru

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