Archive | April 5, 2015

Thousands of dead fish wash up along Runmaro Island, ‘never seen this before’ in Sweden

Fish Kill Alert

Thousands of dead fish wash up along Runmaro Island, ‘never seen this before‘ in Sweden

130 Birds burnt alive while flying over solar farm in Nevada, USA

More than 100 birds have been injured during testing of a new solar power farm.
Biologists say 130 birds caught fire mid-air while entering an area of concentrated solar energy created by the 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project near Tonopah, Nevada.
Experts believe the birds may have been attracted by the glow of the farm’s tower, but the project’s owners, SolarReserve, say they have found a way to reduce the fatalities. 
The solar project is close to being completion and is set to go launch next month.
Thousands of mirrors focus sunlight onto one central tower to melt salt inside it, which will in turn heat water so that steam will turn turbines to generate electricity.
At its peak, the project will produce 110 megawatts of electricity, which will be sold to NV Energy – a firm that powers the majority of homes in Nevada, Rewire reported.
In a test, one third of the project’s 10,000 mirrors were moved to focus sunlight at a point 1,200 feet above ground level – at approximately twice the height of its tower. 
It took biologists just an hour and a half to notice the first of the ‘streamers’ – birds that catch fire and leave a trail of smoke in the air -when entering the field of solar energy.
Some 130 birds were injured during the tests, which began on January 14, Rudy Evenson, deputy chief of communications for Nevada Bureau of Land Management in Reno, told Rewire.
In a subsequent test, fewer mirrors were aimed at the focal point above the tower and this reduced the avian casualties. SolarReserve says it has now put mitigation measures in place.
‘Over the last 30 days of commissioning activities, which includes extended periods of flux [sunlight] on the tower, the Crescent Dunes project has only experienced a single (one) avian fatality attributed to the solar facility’ SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith said. 
A spokeman told MailOnline: ‘Once it was communicated to SolarReserve that there were avian safety issues, action was immediately taken to halt testing in order to evaluate the situation and prevent further issues. 
‘Our engineers worked diligently to successfully modify our testing methods and develop innovative mitigation procedures that have proven to resolve the identified avian safety issues. 
‘Importantly, we’re sharing the new safety methods with the solar tower industry so that changes can be made to protect wildlife and move forward with this revolutionary technology.’
He said that the site was also carefully selected to have the minimal effect on wildlife, ‘with avian safety one of out top priorities’.
‘This careful site selection resulted in zero desert tortoises on site and no current identified wildlife issues.’
A report last year found that tens of thousands of birds flying over California are being scorched to death each year by powerful sun beams from the world’s largest solar plant – the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System.
Estimates per year range from a low of about a thousand by BrightSource Energy – the operator of a solar farm in the Mojave Desert – to 28,000 by an expert for the Centre for Biological Diversity environmental group.
‘The deaths are alarming. It’s hard to say whether that’s the location or the technology,’ said Garry George, renewable-energy director for the California chapter of the Audubon Society. ‘There needs to be some caution.’ 
The plant has been monitoring the number of bird carcasses found on its grounds during periodic studies, but there are fears that because the solar farms appear to be capable of vapourising birds as large as ravens in mid-air, the full extent of the problem may not come to light in the surveys.
Mr George believes that authorities should track birds on during annual migratory seasons, before opening any more solar projects.
Solar farms have been also been criticised for their impacts on desert tortoises.
Last summer, US Fish and Wildlife Service officials warned California that the power-tower style of solar technology holds ‘the highest lethality potential’ of the many solar projects burgeoning in the deserts of California.
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50+ dead birds found along the waterways in Kapiti, New Zealand

An avian epidemiology expert is urging the public to dispose of  dead birds and bring sick birds suspected of having avian botulism to a vet.
More than 50 dead birds, including ducks, gulls and a shag, had been collected by Kapiti Coast District Council and SPCA staff, following reports from residents and patrols of waterways.
Massey University veterinary, animal and biomedical sciences associate prof Brett Gartrell said while botulism was possible, it was not the only possible cause for the dead birds.
Cyanobacteria blooms (blue green algae) or deliberate malicious poisoning looked the same.
It was hoped the Ministry of Primary Industries would investigate, he said.
Avian botulism is a toxin caused by a bacteria that lives in rotting vegetation –   the same nerve toxin used in botox treatment, he said.
When birds eat the toxin they become aggressively paralysed and die because of respiratory failure. ‘
‘It’s not a nice way to die.”
Botulism was difficult  to prevent and popped up when least expected but tended to be “tend to be short explosive outbreaks “
A botulism outbreak could pass to pets that eat the dead birds but not humans.
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2,500 cattle dead due to ‘unknown disease’ in Pariang County, South Sudan, Africa

Virus Alert

About 2,500 cattle have died due to unknown diseases in Pariang County in South Sudan’s Unity State, according to a report released by the county veterinary department.
County Commissioner Monylang Manyiel told Radio Tamazuj that a preliminary report shows unknown diseases are killing cattle in the county and expressed concern that the sickness will spread.
Monylang called on the National Ministry of Animal Resources and the state ministry to provide veterinary medicines so that the cattle are vaccinated.
He further called on the National Ministry of Environment to send a team of experts in order to carry out a survey on the environmental pollution caused by vandalized oil installations in the area due to the ongoing conflict in the area.
Courtesy of

21,000 ducks to be killed due to avian flu in Bekes, Hungary

Bird Flu

Hungary has detected the H5N8 bird flu virus in ducks on a poultry farm in the eastern county of Bekes, the Hungarian food safety authority NEBIH said in a statement on its website.
The authority said laboratory tests confirmed the presence of the virus, after ducks died at a farm in the town of Fuzesgyarmat.
The entire livestock will be culled at the farm and transport restrictions have been implemented within 10 kilometres, NEBIH said.
The strain is the same as in other cases found in Europe, in the Netherlands, Germany, Bulgaria and Britain, NEBIH said.
Courtesy of

Fish kill occurring off the coast of Pasir Ris, Singapore

Fish Kill Alert

Amid higher plankton levels, some fish farmers off Pasir Ris have seen their fish die in recent days and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) is analysing samples to determine the cause of death.
The AVA said some fish deaths were reported by farmers in the East Johor Straits between Wednesday and Saturday. This came after the authority alerted the coastal fish farmers to elevated plankton levels in the area last Monday and Tuesday for them to take precautions.
Plankton are microorganisms and plankton bloom occurs when one species of the drifting marine organisms predominates over others and multiplies quickly, said the AVA. This can be triggered by unpredictable weather, a higher concentration of nutrients in the seawater and poor water exchange between the high and low tides, a spokesperson said.
The AVA did not provide an indication of the scale of deaths so far, but said it has been visiting the coastal fish farms since the farmers’ reports. The visits are to “ascertain the situation, offer advice to the farmers to mitigate the situation and collect fish samples from the affected farms for analysis on the cause of mortality”.
It will continue to monitor and work closely with the farmers, an AVA spokesperson added.
Blogger and environmentalist Ria Tan reported seeing dead fish, both wild and farmed, at Pasir Ris on Saturday. In a post on her Wild Shores website on Sunday, Ms Tan noted that some algal blooms are harmful and said it was important to find out the exact cause of fish deaths this time.
The latest deaths occurred a year after farmers lost more than 160 tonnes of fish and suffered individual losses of up to several hundred thousand dollars.
Last year’s episode was due to plankton bloom and low levels of dissolved oxygen, said the AVA, which offered an assistance package to affected farmers.
Courtesy of channelnewsasia

Mass die off of fish found floating in the Gulf of Iskenderun, Turkey

Fish Kill Alert

Mass die off of fish found floating in the Gulf of Iskenderun, Turkey

Thousands of dead fish found floating in the Ganges, India

Fish Kill Alert

Thousands of dead fish were found floating in Ganga at Dhabka Nullah and Dasheshwar Ghat in Jajmau on Friday. Experts attributed the death of fish to oxygen crisis in river water. However, neither any official from district administration nor from pollution control board visited the spot to take stock of the situation. 
In absence of police, locals had a free run carrying away dead fish in baskets. Kids were found carrying away large fish, a few weighing over several kilograms. 
A few locals informed the police but no official turned up at the site. Jajmau is the hub of leather tanneries. Recently, power supply to 98 tanneries of the area was snapped and forcibly shut down on the orders of National Green Tribunal (NGT) for flouting norms and polluting Ganga. The death of fish has once again brought the issue of Ganga’s pollution to the forefront.
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Thousands of dead crabs wash ashore on Balboa Island, California, USA

Daniel Stringer had an idea after eying the little lobster-like crustaceans that washed ashore on Balboa Island.
“I’ll get the barbeque,” said Stringer, who has lived on Balboa Island for 47 years and has never seen the small crabs like the ones that showed up Saturday. “I like mine with butter.”
Thousands of mini crabs – which actually look like tiny lobsters or craw fish – created a rim of red along the shoreline, scattered on the sand along the sleepy seaside of Balboa Island in Newport Beach. Most washed up dead at high tide, but some were still alive and swimming near the shoreline.
Passerby stopped to marvel at the unusual sight, some people coming to the aid of the ones that still looked like they had some life to them.
The Pleuroncodes planipes, also known as pelagic red crabs or tuna crabs, showed up during the last king tide event – when tides are especially high – at the end of January.
But then, as quick as they showed up, they disappeared – until Saturday morning, when they came in by the thousands. Another king tide event, which only happens a few times each year, showed up again this week, though its unclear whether the two incidents are related.
Experts say the crabs – which are about 1-to 3-inches long – haven’t been seen in the area for decades, and said it’s the warm water that has been lingering near 60-degrees that brought them here. They normally life in Baja California, according to Register archives.
Balboa Island resident Brian Cummings and son Chandler, 9, spent the morning picking them up, one by one, and tossing them back to the sea.
“We try to throw back as many lives ones as we can … We try and look for the bright red ones to throw them back in the water,” Brian Cummings said, picking one up and tossing it into the water, where it simply floated upside down.
When asked if he wanted to eat them up, Chandler looked skeptical.
“They probably don’t have any meat on them,” he said.
Visitor James Gutierrez, of Pomona, was fascinated by the sight.
“You don’t realize how much sea life is out there until you see something like this,” he said.
Aaron Roth, 3, had just one word to describe the sight: “Cooool.”
Resident Michael Brennan knew all about the crabs, doing as much research as possible after the last ones washed ashore about a month ago.
“They swim backwards,” he said to a group gathering near the shore.
The pelagic crabs are the latest in a year of odd sightings along the coast caused by unusual warm water experts say are signs of El Nino. A variety of whales like orcas, sperm and humpback have shown up in high numbers, along with odd sightings like hammerhead sharks and whale sharks in the area.
Other sightings like a glow-in-the-dark organisms called pyrosomes washed ashore in September, and before that a blue, jellyfish-like creatures known as “By-the-wind sailors,” invaded the coastline.
A wahoo – normally found in Mexico – was reeled in by fisherman in August, and anglers are still catching yellowtail of the coast, which are usually scarce during this time of year.
Courtesy of

Intense heat wave sweeps Odisha, Talcher hottest at 43.2 C

Heatwave Warning

Intense heat wave swept across Odisha today with the mercury rising above 40 degree Celsius in at least 10 places as the coal belt of Talcher remained the hottest zone in the state at 43.2 degree Celsius.  
While Talcher had also recorded 43.2 degree celsius yesterday, the temperature at Bhawanipatna stood at 42.2 degree C today, followed by 42 degree C at Titlagarh, the MeT department here said.
The mercury soared up to 41.7 degree Celsius in Angul, while the maximum temperature was recorded at 41.1 degree Celsius at Balangir, 41 degree Celsius at Sambalpur, 40.6 degree Celsius at Jharsuguda, 40.4 degree Celsius in Malkangiri and 40.2 degree Celsius at both Hirakud and Sonepur.
The state capital of Bhubaneswar, where the weather remained cloudy and humid, recorded 36 degree Celsius, it added.
Courtesy of