Tag Archives | Mass Animal Deaths

Mass Dolphin Deaths In Peru A Mystery

dolphinsEarth’s most intelligent species is dying off in droves. Report from the International Business Times:

Around 877 carcasses of dolphins and porpoises were found on Peruvian beaches in two and half months. Peruvian officials and environmentalists are trying to unravel the mystery behind the phenomenon.

No concrete reasons have been figured out yet but authorities believe that it could possibly be a viral infection that may have killed the dolphins in huge numbers. Environmental groups in the country blame the sound waves generated from oil exploration work carried out by Houston-based BPZ Energy Company between February 8 and April 8 off Northern Peru.

Mass dolphin deaths have been reported globally in recent years, raising concerns about the survival of the species.

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Thousands Of Birds Fall Dead From Sky In Arkansas

birdIn recent times, New Year’s seems to always bring with it mystifying mass animal deaths. What an appropriate way to ring in 2012! The New York Daily News writes:

Thousands of blackbirds dropped dead on New Year’s Eve in Arkansas in an incident eerily similar to one that occurred at the same time a year ago.

The disturbing deaths in Beebe, a city northwest of Little Rock, were sparked after loud fireworks sent flocks of the small birds into a panic, scientists said. This caused them to collide with each other, as well as power lines, houses and cars.

On New Year’s Eve 2010, an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 birds died from “blunt trauma” after they were similarly spooked by fireworks.

Eyewitnesses told authorities “the birds were hitting mailboxes, cars, basketball goals, houses, trees,” Keith Stephens of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission told the Daily News last January. “The trauma shows that they were in flight when they collided with something that killed them.”

The bird deaths, which were followed only days later by hundreds of more bird deaths in Louisiana, sparked conspiracy theories ranging from the Biblical end of the world to government coverups.

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USDA Admits To Causing Mass Bird Death With Poison

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At least one of the mysterious mass wildlife deaths of the past month has a (bizarre) explanation. The USDA acknowledged that hundreds of birds in South Dakota were poisoned as part of a massive and longstanding government bird-killing operation, normally kept under wraps, called Bye Bye Blackbird. The Christian Science Monitor sheds some light:

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) took responsibility for hundreds of dead starlings that were found on the ground and frozen in trees in a Yankton, S.D., park on Monday.

The USDA’s Wildlife Services Program, which contracts with farmers for bird control, said it used an avicide poison called DRC-1339 to cull a roost of 5,000 birds that were defecating on a farmer’s cattle feed across the state line in Nebraska. But officials said the agency had nothing to do with large and dense recent bird kills in Arkansas and Louisiana.

Nevertheless, the USDA’s role in the South Dakota bird deaths puts a focus on a little-known government bird-control program that began in the 1960s under the name of Bye Bye Blackbird, which eventually became part of the USDA and was housed in the late ’60s at a NASA facility.

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Latest Mass Animal Death: Crickets

millions-of-crickets-dying-in-zoospet-stores-arou-31727-1294845607-2I’m not sure how many signs of the apocalypse we’ve now experienced this season, but it’s a high tally. In the latest disturbing mass wildlife die-off, MSNBC reports that a paralyzing virus is killing crickets by the million:

A virus has killed millions of crickets raised to feed pet reptiles and those kept in zoos. The cricket paralysis virus has disrupted supplies to pet shops across North America as a handful of operators have seen millions of their insects killed.

Some operations have gone bankrupt and others have closed indefinitely until they can rid their facilities of the virus.

Cricket farms started in the 1940s as a source of fish bait, but the bulk of sales now are to pet supply companies, reptile owners and zoos, although people also eat some. Most U.S. farms are in the South, but suppliers from Pennsylvania to California also raise crickets.

The virus had swept through European cricket farms in 2002.

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Mass Animal Deaths Tracked By Google Maps

From Jennifer Viegas at Discovery News:

The recent mass deaths of birds, fish, crabs, manatees, penguins and other animals are now being tracked by Google Maps.

“Aflockalypse,” as the Washington Post and other news outlets are calling the bird die offs, can now be studied, along with the other animal deaths, online at the single Google webpage.

The events appear to all date from December 2010 to the present — likely a choice of the map’s creators, since previous events could have also been documented. The majority of the events are shown to have occurred in the United States, but the map also charts the following:

  • “100 tons of fish” dead in South America
  • “Hundreds of snapper” perished in New Zealand
  • “Thousands of fish” were found floating dead in the Philippines
  • “150 tons of red tilapias” died in Thailand
  • “Scores of dead fish” in Haiti
  • 50-100 Jackdaws dead in Norway
  • Over 300 doves dead in Italy

and several more.

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