2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes

Updated on November 15, 2016 at 12:00am JST.

On the nights of April 14 and 16, Kumamoto Sanctuary (KS) was hit by several strong earthquakes. The magnitude 7.3 earthquake (the main quake) occurred approximately 35 km northeast of KS at 01:25 JST, April 16. Fortunately, the KS facility sustained only minor damage. We extend our sincere condolences to all those more deeply affected by this event.
Photo 1
The chimpanzees and bonobos of KS uttered repeated high-pitched barks in response to the series of aftershocks those nights. During the following day, they were less active than usual and napped frequently in their outdoor enclosures, most likely because they had been too anxious to sleep well at night. Some chimps and bonobo individuals appeared extremely cautious about entering their indoor enclosures; some lost their appetite entirely.

Photo 1: Chimps all taking a nap
(Updated on May 2016)
Weeks have now passed since the main quake occurred. Even though the aftershocks continue, the KS chimpanzees and bonobos are returning, little by little, to their daily life of play, laughter and even small fights between friends.

(Updated on September 2016)
Sadly, we must report that aftershocks from the initial earthquake in Kumamoto continue to be felt, albeit at successively decreasing magnitudes. On August 31 another earthquake of >5* magnitude occurred (* yet to be confirmed as magnitude 5.2; revised from earlier estimates of 4.9). Unfortunately, this caused water leaks at our facilities. We can only hope and pray that no further damage will be caused.

We look forward, with hope, to a day that will resound with the laughter of chimps and bonobos, when things will return to normal for every other living creature, including humans.
Photo 2 (Taken on April 30, 2016)

2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes Factsheet

Record of Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes

Date and Time Hypocenter Magnitude
14 April 2016 21:26 JST (12:26 UTC) Kumamoto Chiho of Kumamoto Prefecture 6.5
14 April 2016 22:07 JST (13:07 UTC) Kumamoto Chiho of Kumamoto Prefecture 5.8
15 April 2016 00:03 JST (14 April 2016 15:03 UTC) Kumamoto Chiho of Kumamoto Prefecture 6.4
16 April 2016 01:25 JST (15 April 2016 16:25 UTC) Kumamoto Chiho of Kumamoto Prefecture 7.3
16 April 2016 01:45 JST (15 April 2016 16:45 UTC) Kumamoto Chiho of Kumamoto Prefecture 5.9
16 April 2016 03:55 JST (15 April 2016 18:55 UTC) Aso Chiho of Kumamoto Prefecture 5.8
16 April 2016 09:48 JST (00:48 UTC) Kumamoto Chiho of Kumamoto Prefecture 5.4
31 August 2016 19:46 JST (10:46 UTC) Kumamoto Chiho of Kumamoto Prefecture 5.2

Figure: Temporal distribution of the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake (Click to Zoom)

Useful References & Websites

1. The 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake Portal http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/en/2016_Kumamoto_Earthquake/2016_Kumamoto_Earthquake.html
  Portal website managed by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), a Japanese governmental agency.

2. Information on the seismic intensity at each location http://www.jma.go.jp/en/quake/quake_local_index.html
  This web page displays detailed information about each earthquake, recorded by the Japan Meteorological Agency.

2. Japan National Tourism Organization http://www.jnto.go.jp/eq/kumamoto.html
  The Japan National Tourism Organization offers safety tips and information and updates on the availability of transport routes as and when they are restored.