Massive Death Connections PT4
April 2, 2011-Hold your horses. It hasn’t arrived in the Clarence Valley – yet but increasing numbers of horses displaying unusual neurological symptoms across three states have prompted the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) to caution all owners. In NSW alone there have been 87 confirmed cases of the unidentified illness. While tests conducted by the NSW Department of Industry and Investment have ruled out Hendra virus, AVA president Dr Barry Smyth believes the illness may be the result of a mosquito-borne disease. “Diseases associated with mosquitoes are very uncommon in normal years,” he said.
March 30, 2011-The Government is being asked to investigate a possible link between a new generation of pesticides and the decline of honey bees. It is suspected that the chemicals may be impairing the insects’ ability to defend themselves against harmful parasites through grooming. The Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, will have to answer a question in the Commons from the former Home Office minister David Hanson about whether the Government will investigate if the effect of neonicotinoids on the grooming behaviour of bees is similar to its effect on termites. The pesticides, neonicotinoids, made by the German agribusiness giant Bayer and rapidly spreading in use, are known to be fatal to termites by damaging their ability to groom themselves and thus remove the spores of harmful fungi. In a leaflet promoting an anti-termite insecticide, Premise 200SC, sold in Asia, the company says it is the direct effect on the insects’ grooming abilities of the neonicotinoid active ingredient, imidacloprid, which eventually kills them. Now bee campaigners in Britain want to know if this mechanism could also be at work on European honey bees and other pollinating insects which are rapidly declining in numbers.
March 30, 2011-New South Wales-Second Fish Kill in as Many Months-Dead mullet have been found floating on the surface of a Taree waterway for the second time in less than two months. The fish could be seen at the wetland near Nulama Village at Taree North yesterday, also the site of a similar fish kill in February. The heat and subsequent loss of oxygen from the water was blamed on that occasion but does not seem likely this time due to the much milder weather conditions. Some of the fish were found on the banks of the wetland, suggesting they may have jumped from the water. Experts from the Department of Fisheries were not available for comment yesterday.
March 29, 2011-Florida-Dead Baby Dolphin on Innerarity Point-Another dead dolphin has washed up in our area, this time just across the state line in Perdido Bay on Innerarity Point. But we may have a better understanding of what’s taking so long to figure out why the dolphins are dying. Innerarity Point, Florida – “I looked and saw a baby porpoise, a terrible sight to see. What started as a normal Tuesday morning for Chris McCune, “I came out to have my coffee, practice, play my guitar and write some songs.” That all changed when he looked down the beach. Eleanor Milford saw it too. “I’ve been hearing about it but I didn’t expect to see it in my own backyard and I hope we get some answers.”
March 29, 2011-Mississippi-Sea Turtle Deaths Anger Residents-As a resident of coastal Mississippi for more than 30 years, Shirley Tillman is used to seeing a few drum fish, sea gulls or jelly fish wash up on nearby sandy shores. It’s a fact of life living by the sea. But in the past few weeks Shirley has come across something she’s never seen before; dead sea turtles washing up on beaches near spring break vacationers. They are part of a growing number of dead fish, animals and birds she and other Mississippi residents have photographed washing in with the tides in recent weeks. For Shirley, a trip to the beach no longer provides the same relaxing refuge as before. “It’s very upsetting,” says Shirley, a grandmother and wife of a Pass Christian home builder. “I have never found anything like this until after the oil spill. It used to be if you found a dead dolphin or turtle it was front page news around here. Now it’s no big deal.”
March 29, 2011-Alabama – More Dead Sealife Continues to Plague U.S. Beaches-Months after the hundreds of birds fell dead from the sky and after thousands of dead fish, crabs, sardines, dolphins, and whales washed ashore worldwide, more dead fish washed ashore in Alabama, and a dead whale washed ashore in Virginia. There’s still no cause for the hundreds of dead fish that were found dead along the gulf shores over the weekend. They were also found along the gulf state pier Saturday morning. Park officials said it was unusual to see spade fish in that area this early in the year. The dead sigh spanned about three miles of shoreline. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will take the fish in for testing.
March 28, 2011-Virgina Beach, Virginia – A dead whale, approximately 35-40 feet in length, was found washed up on the beach in Sandbridge Sunday morning. The Virginia Aquarium’s Stranding Response Team responded to the scene to secure the animal to the beach so it didn’t get washed back into the ocean, said Virginia Aquarium spokesperson Joan Barns. Barns told WAVY.com that the whale is known as a Sei (say) whale and is not very common for the area, although they do show up from time to time in local waters. The Virginia Aquarium will conduct a necropsy (animal autopsy) on the whale tomorrow morning at low tide to determine a cause of death. Samples will be taken from the animal and sent to various institutions for general research purposes as well, said Barns. Arrangements have been made by the Virginia Aquarium with the City of Virginia Beach to remove the whale from the beach on Monday.
March 28th, 2011-Gulf Shores, Alabama – Laura Pfizenmayer walks the beach in Gulf Shores every morning. On Saturday, she was shocked with what she found. “When we came down we saw dead fish. They were everywhere. I mean you don’t have to find them. You can turn around and see them. They were everywhere,” said Pfizenmayer. Charles Kelly with the Gulf State Pier said they are spadefish and only spadefish.
March 27, 2011-Boston – The New England Aquarium says six dolphins have turned up dead on Massachusetts beaches. The most recent was as 4-foot long, dark grey harbor porpoise that washed up with the overnight high tide on Revere Beach Saturday The aquarium says its rescue biologists handled seven harbor porpoises in a week on the Massachusetts coast. One was found alive and is doing well at the University of New England’s Marine Animal Rescue Center in Biddeford, Maine. Despite the number of dead porpoises found in the short time, Aquarium officials say it appears to be seasonal. The harbor porpoises that were found were yearlings that were underweight and probably were only recently weaned from their mothers in the early winter.
March 26, 2011-Australia-Man Injured as Beetles Swarm Coast-Thousands of beetles invading the Gold Coast have claimed their first victim. Ken Tomkins, 61, was hospitalized after skidding his bicycle into a mound of dead bugs and shattering his hip, collarbone and ribs, the Gold Coast Bulletin reports. Tomkins said he noticed the slick as he rode along The Esplanade at Surfers Paradise, but initially thought it was water or leaves. He will be bedridden for six weeks after hitting the bugs, which were piled to the edge of the road by a council street sweeper, at about 25kph. The water beetle invasion is a never-before-seen phenomenon that has stumped local scientists.
March 26th, 2011-Australia-Thousands of beetles invading the Gold Coast have claimed their first victim. Ken Tomkins, 61, was hospitalized after skidding his bicycle into a mound of dead bugs and shattering his hip, collarbone and ribs, the Gold Coast Bulletin reports. Tomkins said he noticed the slick as he rode along The Esplanade at Surfers Paradise, but initially thought it was water or leaves. He will be bedridden for six weeks after hitting the bugs, which were piled to the edge of the road by a council street sweeper, at about 25kph. The water beetle invasion is a never-before-seen phenomenon that has stumped local scientists.
March 25,2011-Atlantic Beach, Florida-Dozens of dead fish have risen to the surface at a lake in Hanna Park. The floating fish have produced a foul smell and an eerie site. “I’ve seen a couple of people biking around, but as soon as they get to this area, they turn right back around,” visitor Heather Lenier said. The sight and smell is enough to keep people away from the lake. Scientists said an outbreak of golden algae is responsible for the death of thousands of fish. The algae is producing a toxic chemical. When fish come in contact with the tainted water, their blood cells literally explode. “Those cells that carry oxygen are being ruptured,” biologist Dana Morton said. “Oxygen is not getting to the fish, and the fish look like they are suffocating, which they really are.” Morton said that as harmful as the algae is for fish, it is harmless for humans.
March 23,2011-Nebraska:Ravenna Lake suffers massive fish kill–Game and Parks officials said the extended ice and snow coverage this year blocked the sun and killed aquatic plants. Without plants producing enough oxygen an estimated 3800 fish suffocated. The massive amount of algae you see may also have been a factor. Nebraska Game and Parks Commissioners said they’ll decide what to do next in April.
March 23, 2011-Glen Ellyn, Illinois – Concerns are still looming for some after a fish kill was said to have killed hundreds of fish earlier this month in the Maryknoll Estates subdivision. “I have been a field editor for MidWest Outdoors magazine and have witnessed dozens of winter fish kills,” Glen Ellyn resident Jim Janik wrote in an email to the Glen Ellyn News. “I have never seen a fish kill like the one which occurred in our subdivision.” Hundreds of dead fish were found floating and washed ashore in a pond March 10 in Maryknoll Estates, southwest of Interstate 355 and Roosevelt Road in Glen Ellyn.
March 23, 2011-Great Lakes-Cathy Pedlar and Kathryn Hamilton were walking by Presque Isle State Park’s Misery Bay on Tuesday afternoon when they spotted thousands of dead fish along the north shore. Pedlar said she’s seen dead fish before, but never like this. “I haven’t seen this density before,” she said. Park and state officials were notified and a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection official investigated. “This is a natural fish kill, no cause for alarm,” Jim Grazio, a Great Lakes biologist with DEP’s Office of the Great Lakes, said after inspecting the dead fish. He said 99 percent were gizzard shad and he believed their death was a natural event caused by temperature change. Grazio said the gizzard shad, a freshwater herring, is notoriously sensitive to cold temperatures and temperature changes. He also said more than the usual number of the fish were born in 2010 for unknown reasons. “A lot of them didn’t survive,” he said. The fish began dying in January and were under the ice, unseen until warmer temperatures caused a melt and the fish began washing up on shore, he said. There wasn’t much decay because of the cold.
March 22, 2011-Anchorage, Alaska – At least 32 musk oxen were found frozen in the ice on the northern coast of Alaska’s Seward Peninsula, killed in the aftermath of a tidal surge and flooding from a winter storm blowing in off the Chukchi Sea, the National Park Service said Tuesday. Researchers found the frozen animals March 15 while flying over the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve to track at least four of the animals, which had been outfitted with radio collars. “Basically, the radio collars led us to the dead animals,” National Park Service spokesman John Quinley said. Officials planned to fly over the area again Tuesday to determine the fate of another 23 animals in the herd. It wasn’t immediately clear if any of those were fitted with collars. “We didn’t see any carcasses, but we didn’t see them walking around,” he said. The remainder of the herd could be buried deeper in the snow. If so, the bodies wouldn’t be visible until spring.
March 22,2011-London – Thousands of endangered penguins have been coated with oil after a cargo ship ran aground and broke up on a remote British South Atlantic territory, officials and conservationists said Tuesday. The shipwreck also threatens the lobster fishery that provides a livelihood to one of the world’s most isolated communities. The Malta-registered MS Olivia was grounded on Nightingale Island in the Tristan da Cunha chain last week. The ship had been traveling from Brazil to Singapore and contained 1,500 metric tons (1,650 tons) of crude oil and a cargo of 60,000 metric tons (66,000 tons) of soya beans. The ship’s 22 crew members were rescued before it broke in two. Tristan da Cunha’s conservation officer, Trevor Glass, said oil was encircling Nightingale Island and called the situation “a disaster.” The territory’s British administrator, Sean Burns, said more than half of about 500 birds gathered by rescue workers had been coated in oil. An environmentalist at the scene estimated that 20,000 penguins might be affected.
March 21, 2011-Morris Island – A large pygmy sperm whale carcass washed up by the Morris Island lighthouse and was found over the weekend. It was too decomposed to say what killed it, researchers concluded. The whale stranding follows a string of 13 bottlenose dolphin carcasses since late February. And a marine mammal stranding crew was in Charleston Harbor Monday recovering another dolphin carcass. But the pygmy sperm carcass is only the second whale to wash up on a South Carolina beach this year. A dwarf sperm whale was discovered in January. The 11-foot-long male whale found on Morris Island didn’t appear to have any external wounds, said Wayne McFee, National Ocean Service marine mammal stranding program scientist. Its organ were so far gone “there wasn’t a whole lot we can tell with this one,” he said. The ocean service lab is waiting the results of pathology tests of the dwarf sperm whale, he said.