Archive | September 24, 2015


Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 1152 km NE of Wellington, New Zealand / pop: 381,900 / local time: 10:30:31.2 2015-09-25
751 km NE of Gisborne, New Zealand / pop: 34,274 / local time: 10:30:31.2 2015-09-25

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25 dead walrus found on the coast of Alaska, USA

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Friday it is investigating the deaths of 25 Pacific walrus found on an isolated northwest Alaska beach.
A person connected to an Air Force radar station in the remote area spotted the animals and notified the agency this week. The walrus included 12 pups, and some were missing their heads and tusks.
The cause of death has not been determined, said Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Andrea Medeiros, and investigators do not want to speculate.
“We can’t come to any conclusions based on a report,” she said Friday. “You have to go out and investigate.”
Only Alaska Natives who live in the state may hunt walrus for subsistence or for the creation of handicrafts or clothing.
The missing heads and tusks don’t necessarily indicate illegal activity, Medeiros noted. The animals could have died in the ocean and washed ashore, she said.
Federal regulations allow anyone to collect bones, teeth and ivory of dead marine mammals found on beaches or land within about half a kilometre of the ocean, though they must follow certain rules. Walrus skulls with tusk attached are collectors’ items. The ivory often is carved and made into jewelry.  
However, walrus killed only for the collection of ivory is considered wasteful, and “head-hunting” is illegal. 
‘Time is of the essence’
The carcasses were photographed by a person at the radar station at Cape Lisburne, 370 kilometres northeast of the Bering Strait.
Investigators reached the Chukchi Sea beach Thursday. Officers wanted to investigate the carcasses before they were picked apart by polar bears, gulls or other scavengers.
“Time is of the essence,” Medeiros said. “We really appreciate people notifying us promptly.”
Walrus have become a cause for concern as climate warming diminishes summer sea ice. Arctic sea ice hit its summer minimum last week at 4.4 million square kilometres, down 620,000 square kilometres from 2014, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Centre. It’s the fourth-lowest level on record for minimum summer sea ice.
Walrus breed in the Bering Sea. Many walrus found in the Chukchi Sea north of the Bering Strait are females with pups that ride the edge of the sea ice north, using the ice as a moving platform to dive and rest.
The animals feed on clams, sea snails and other food on the ocean bottom but cannot swim indefinitely. In recent years, sea ice has receded north beyond the shallow continental shelf to water that exceeds 3 kilometres deep, beyond the diving range of an adult walrus.
Walrus in large numbers on shore were first spotted on the U.S. side of the Chukchi Sea in 2007. An estimated 35,000 Pacific walrus were photographed Sept. 2 near Point Lay about 160 kilometres northeast of Cape Lisburne. 
When the animals are grouped shoulder-to-shoulder in massive herds, they are subject to stampedes if startled by an airplane, hunter or polar bear.
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Thousands of dead fish appear in a canal in Tamaulipas, Mexico

As it has happened in the last few months, thousands of dead fish appeared floating yesterday in the Anzalduas Canal, to the surprise and alarm of the reynosenses that noted the fact.
The large number of fish was detected in the stretch of the canal that goes from Morelos Boulevard to the Heron Ramírez Street, in the Centre of the city.
Serafín Gómez, general manager of the Municipal Commission of water from Reynosa (Comapa), ruled that the fact represents a risk for the population.
“We have to notify the Conagua and already the Conagua sends people and specialists to review the water. Sure is that this is like the last time, due to lack of maintenance of water, lack of oxygen and fish die.
“There is no risk, but the recommendation is that they do not approach or do not use the water until you don’t know exactly what happened,” said Gomez.
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8,900 ducks to be killed due to avian flu in Yunlin, Taiwan

Bird Flu

About 8,900 broiler ducks at two farms in Yunlin County’s Dounan Township (斗南) are to be culled, while a suspected H5N2 infection was reported at farms in Tainan and Chiayi County on Monday.
Ducks at the Yunlin farms on Monday were found to have contracted a new type of the highly pathogenic H5N2 bird flu virus, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said.
The bureau said that it would perform precautionary culls at the farms even though the animals were generally in good health.
The farms are unenclosed facilities within a 1km radius of a previously affected farm, but the ducks to be culled might have been exposed to the virus through interaction with migratory birds, the bureau said.
It is clear that the virus is still active in the areas, the bureau said, adding that would to conduct disinfection operations and take samples from all facilities within a 1km radius of all affected farms.
Operators who refuse inspections face a fine of between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000 (US$915 and US$4,575), while those who fail to report irregular deaths of fowls face a maximum fine of NT$1 million, it said.
Ducks are a carrier of the virus, but show few symptoms and have a low mortality rate, the bureau said, adding that while the native H5N2 viruses only infects chickens, not waterfowl, the new H5N2 viruses are more powerful strains that can infect geese and ducks.
Separately, a farm in Tainan with about 1,800 geese and a farm in Chiayi with about 1,200 broiler ducks reported irregular deaths of hundreds of fowl to authorities on Monday, with tests done and the results given to the bureau for examination.
A report on the results is expected today.
As of Monday, the Council of Agriculture had tested samples from 986 farms nationwide and confirmed bird flu infection at 953 farms, culling animals at all 953 facilities, the bureau said.
To control the spread of avian influenza, in June the council announced that affected farms could resume poultry operations only after the facility is renovated to an enclosed or non-open structure, with the rules to take effect next year.
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Massive die off of sea birds hits Kodiak Island in Alaska, USA

Kodiak Island residents have been reporting a large number of common murres washing up dead on local beaches.
The small black and white seabird usually establish breeding colonies on the Alaska Peninsula and in the Aleutian Islands.
Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge bird biologist Robin Corcoran said there are a few colonies on the island, but they’re less than 200 birds.
Corcoran said the refuge first started receiving reports in April and May about a handful of murre die-offs.
“They were showing up in places where people don’t normally see them. These are birds that are usually pretty far off shore,” she said. “We were getting all these reports of them being seen close to shore, foraging.”
Corcoran said more and more reports of dead birds started coming in August. She said some beaches have a large number of carcasses; there are over a hundred on the shores of Pasgashack.
She said she doesn’t know what could have caused the deaths, but it could be related to the birds’ inability to catch fish because they’re currently going through a flight feather molt stage.
“They spend about 70 days where they can’t fly, and so the die-off seems to coincide with this flight feather molt where they’re flightless and it might be that they don’t have the mobility to move to locations where they can find the forage fish,” Corcoran said,
Making things worse is that the birds are in a mostly unfamiliar territory. No one knows why they’re congregating on Kodiak Island. Corcoran hypothesizes that colony abandonment in other areas could be a factor.
Corcoran said 2012 the last year they saw a major bird die-off, that time of both murres and grebes in January through March. They collected carcasses and sent them to the National Wildlife Health center in Madison, Wisconsin, where they ruled starvation as the cause of death.
The carcasses they’ve sent this year have been emaciated. Corcoran said the murres’ plight it could be connected to recent whale die-offs.
“[We’re] looking into the possibility of harmful algal blooms. … It could be related to the warm ocean temperatures having an impact on forage fish populations,” she said.
Corcoran said refuge survey data indicates that several other bird species’ numbers have declined, like the pigeon guillemot and the marbled murrelet. She said she’s read about the die-off reaching Homer, as well as along the Alaskan Peninsula and into the Aleutians.
Courtesy of



***BE ALERT***

Magnetogram 24.09.15  22.38 hrs UTC

Thousands of fish have died in a reservoir in Shandong, China

A photo shows large amounts of dead fish on the banks of the Jufeng Reservoir in Rizhao City in east China’s Shandong Province on Sept. 15, 2015. [Photo: CFP]
Thousands of fish have died in the Jufeng Reservoir in Rizhao city in east China’s Shandong Province, due to heavy rains that had led to a sudden drop in temperatures in the reservoir.
Wang Yunying, a contractor working on the clean-up effort at the reservoir says that the area had experienced a sudden bout of heavy rain on September 11.
This had resulted in a rapid change in water temperatures leading to the death of thousands of fish, mainly silver carp and spotted silver carp.
According to Wang, the area had been affected by a long dry spell earlier. The reservoir’s water line had dropped steadily and the excessive amount of fish had led to oxygen deficiency in the reservoir.
But this issue was aggravated by the heavy rains, because as the cold rain water mixed with the warm water in the reservoir and affected the flow of oxygen to shawls of fish.
The reservoir management started to remove piles of dead fish that were giving out a foul stench since September 13.
It is estimated that the cleanup efforts will cost around 600,000 yuan, or around 94,200 US dollars.
Courtesy of


Subject To Change

Depth: 62 km

Distances: 160 km N of Road Town, British Virgin Islands / pop: 8,449 / local time: 15:27:54.1 2015-09-24
177 km N of Charlotte Amalie, Virgin Islands, U.S. / pop: 20,000 / local time: 15:27:54.1 2015-09-24
237 km NW of Marigot, Saint-Martin / pop: 5,700 / local time: 15:27:54.1 2015-09-24

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Subject To Change

Depth: 18 km

Distances: 630 km S of Almaty, Kazakhstan / pop: 2,000,900 / local time: 22:50:39.4 2015-09-24
462 km SE of Naryn, Kyrgyzstan / pop: 52,300 / local time: 22:50:39.4 2015-09-24
356 km NE of Skārdu, Pakistan / pop: 2,100 / local time: 21:50:39.4 2015-09-24
125 km SE of Shache, China / pop: 82,509 / local time: 22:50:39.4 2015-09-24

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