Definitions

Stampede

Stampede

[stam-peed]
A stampede is an act of mass impulse among herd animals or a crowd of people in which the herd (or crowd) collectively begins running with no clear direction or purpose. Stampedes are believed to originate from biological responses in the brains and endocrine systems of herd animals. The response is believed to have evolved to help animals escape predators.

A large stampede will frequently eliminate anything in its path. In farmed animals, herd managers, sometimes called cowboys, attempt to turn the moving herd into itself, so that it runs in circles rather than self-destructing by running over a cliff or into a river, or from damaging human life or property by overrunning human settlements.

Specific animals associated with stampede behaviour are cattle, elephants, Blue Wildebeests, wild horses and humans.

Human stampedes

The term stampede, also known as a crush or trampling, commonly describes a sudden rush of a crowd of people, usually resulting in many injuries and death from suffocation and trampling. Human stampedes most often occur during religious pilgrimages, professional sporting and music events. They also often occur in times of mass panic, as a result of a fire or explosion, as people try to get away.

The annual Muslim Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, which is attended by millions of pilgrims, has increasingly suffered from stampedes and other disasters even as authorities have constructed new walkways and instituted other traffic controls to prevent them.

In India, stampedes occur regularly during Hindu religious holidays. Called "temple crushes" by the local press, they are often caused by railings giving way as pilgrims climb steep hills to reach a temple.

List of human stampedes

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