Scientists study eclipse effect on zoo animals

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Tracking totality at the Seneca Park Zoo.

The once-in-a-lifetime event Monday gave scientists a great way to study animal behavior.

News10NBC’s Bret Vetter watched the eclipse near the snow leopard and wolf enclosure.

As soon as the skies darkened, some of the snow leopards who had been resting or sleeping woke up and began walking around. Some of them even looked up at the sky.

Seneca Park Zoo is one of the few zoos in the country that was in the path of totality, which is why scientists from Rochester Institute of Technology and NASA came. They monitored the sounds of the animals all day – some of them too quiet to be heard by the human ear.

Recording devices were set up to monitor how elephants reacted second by second, according to Skyler Kleinschmidt, program executive with the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA.

“They can be detected miles away by other elephants,” she said. “By having these audio recording devices that have been active all week, we can get a baseline. What does it sound like around this time and these weather conditions? We are going to be able to compare that to what we hear during the eclipse.”

The data will be fed back and used by scientists across the country for many years to come.