Archive | January 18, 2017

81 dolphins (false killer whales) dead after stranding in Florida’s Everglades, USA

FILE PHOTO: Stranded false killer whales are seen on a beach at sunrise, at Kommetjie near Cape Town May 30, 2009. REUTERS/Chad Chapman
FILE PHOTO: Stranded false killer whales are seen on a beach at sunrise, at Kommetjie near Cape Town May 30, 2009. REUTERS/Chad Chapman
Biologists on Tuesday were investigating the weekend deaths of dozens of dolphins in Everglades National Park in Florida’s largest mass stranding of the mammal since 1989, a U.S. scientific agency said.
At least 82 of the dolphins, known as false killer whales for their resemblance to killer whales, died, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said. Seventy-two were found dead and 10 were euthanized by veterinarians on the scene after being found in poor condition.
Thirteen dolphins remain unaccounted for since the initial sighting Saturday afternoon by a bystander in Hog Key, a remote island on the western side of the park, NOAA spokeswoman Blair Mase said.
The dolphins were scattered along the hard-to-reach shoreline and deeply embedded in some of the mangroves, making it hard to retrieve them, said Mase, coordinator of NOAA’s Southeast Marine Mammal Stranding Network.
“Once on the scene, the response team attempted to herd some of the free-swimming live whales into deeper water, however, they were ultimately unsuccessful with that effort,” Mase said.
False killer whales, the fourth-largest dolphin, range in size from 15 to 20 feet (4.6 to 6.1 m) long, weigh about 1,500 pounds (680 kg) and have a 60-year lifespan, according to NOAA’s website.
Approximately 28 false killer whales were discovered stranded in Key West in 1986.
Biologists and responders from numerous agencies including NOAA, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the National Park Service will try to find the unaccounted dolphins in Everglades National Park and determine the cause of death using samples collected during post-mortem examination.
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6,000 turkeys are to be killed due to bird flu in Lincolnshire, UK

Bird Flu
Bird flu has been confirmed at a farm in Lincolnshire four weeks after it was found at a nearby unit.
A flock of 6,000 turkeys has been diagnosed with the H5N8 strain of avian flu, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.
Some of the birds at Low Farm in Fulstow, near Louth, East Lindsey, have died. The rest are due to be culled.
Defra said it was “unlikely to be directly linked to the previous case” at the nearby Austen Fen Farm.
A 1.8-mile (3km) protection zone and a six-mile (10km) surveillance area have been set up around Low Farm to reduce the risk of the disease spreading.
‘Investigation under way’
Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said: “We have taken swift action to limit the risk of the disease spreading with restrictions in place around the affected premises.
“A full investigation is under way to determine the source of the infection.”
The protection zone at Austen Fen Farm, near Louth, was removed on 9 January but surveillance continued at the site, Defra said.
The same strain has been discovered in birds in Settle, North Yorkshire, a swannery in Dorset and flocks in Carmarthenshire, south west Wales.
Last month, the government introduced an avian influenza prevention zone, which lasts until 28 February, to help protect poultry and captive birds from avian flu after the strain was found in 14 European countries including Germany and France.
Courtesy of BBC News

Hundreds of dead fish wash up on Hindmarsh Island in Australia

Fish Kill Alert
Hundreds of fish have washed up on Hindmarsh Island in South Australia as blackwater continues to move through the River Murray system.
Blackwater has been working its way down the river system since last year’s floods, with decomposing organic material, including leaves and bark, washing into the river.
Resident Catharina Taylor said the dead carp had created a “horrible smell” and she feared the smell would get worse in the summer heat.
Ms Taylor said she had alerted Alexandrina Council and the State Government’s Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) department about the dead fish, but was told no help to clean up the mess would be offered at this stage.
“Only thing that I actually heard is that they cannot help, they haven’t got the manpower and we should get the community behind us,” Ms Taylor said.
“Two [residents] are in their 80s, and four of us are in our 70s, so you know, that’s asking a little bit too much.
“And there are also so, so many of them [dead fish], you don’t know where to start — if you pick them up, where do you put them?
“We are going to get a horrible smell here.”
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Dozens of pelicans are dying in Riviera Bay, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

Dead pelicans have been turning up in Riviera Bay and Coffee Pot Bayou since Wednesday, and experts are still investigating the cause.
“It’s awful, it is,” said Eddie Gayton of the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary.
Dead birds have been turning up since Wednesday. The sanctuary is caring for 14 pelicans that are still alive but lethargic and paralyzed, he said. They appear to have been poisoned by something, but by what is the mystery. Another 22 died, he said, along with an egret that may or may not be part of the pelican die-off.
And other wildlife rehabilitation facilities have taken in sick pelicans as well, said Barbara Walker of the Clearwater Audubon Society.
“Nobody has a total,” she said. “We don’t have a good protocol here (for dealing with sick birds). And these birds are all being treated different at different facilities.”
There are no lack of suspects. The wave of sickness and death may be connected to an ongoing Red Tide algae bloom, although some bird advocates fear what’s going on could be linked to the city’s massive dump of sewage into Tampa Bay during last year’s storms.
However, the brackish Riviera Bay doesn’t directly connect to Tampa Bay, with Weedon Island lying in between. As a result, Gayton questions the theory of sewage dumping being the culprit. Walker said the birds could have picked up their illness elsewhere and then flown to Riviera Bay.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists and St. Petersburg crews have taken water samples as part of an investigation of the die-off. The biologists have also sent three dead pelicans to a laboratory to determine what killed them, said Michelle Kerr of the state’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg. She said results might be available in two weeks.
In the meantime, the sanctuary is treating the sick birds with fluids and a charcoal solution that helps remove toxins, Gayton said.
For the ones that are paralyzed, “We’re keeping their heads propped up so they don’t sustain an eye injury,” he said. A pelican with a damaged eye cannot fly or catch fish.
Gayton said the sanctuary received its first call about dead birds on Wednesday from Riviera Bay, a subdivision near Weedon Island. He said the lake regularly suffers from a thermal inversion condition that kills thousands of fish, but longtime residents told him it’s the first time they’ve seen birds die too.
“My hope is that the pelicans found in Coffee Pot Bayou got sick at Riviera Bay and then swam or flew over there and died,” Gayton said. If not, then something in the bayou may be sickening the birds too.
The survivors are showing symptoms that could match a diagnosis of poisoning by Red Tide, he said. Red Tide has stunk up Florida’s beaches for centuries. Spanish explorers recorded blooms when they visited in the 1500s.
Small, scattered colonies of the microscopic algae Karenia brevis — named for retired St. Petersburg biologist Karen Steidinger, who spent decades studying it — live in the Gulf of Mexico all year long. Usually they cause no problems.
But every now and then, the algae population offshore explodes into something called a bloom in which the algae multiplies rapidly and spreads. The expanding bloom stains the water a rusty color that gives the creature its name.
No one knows what causes the bloom to begin offshore, and no one knows what causes it to end.
The big blooms release toxins that are deadly to marine creatures. A bloom along the Southwest Florida coast in 2013 killed 200 manatees.
Those blooms can last for months, fueled sometimes by nitrate pollution flowing from overfertilized yards, leaky septic tanks and other sources, including the sewage dumped by cities.
Last year Hurricane Hermine, along with earlier summer storms, overwhelmed the sewage treatment plants in St. Petersburg, Gulfport and other Pinellas cities, leading them to dump tens of millions of gallons of sewage into both the Tampa Bay and Boca Ciega Bay. Just this weekend, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman contended that the sewage did not harm the environment.
So far, the die-off hasn’t approached the level of the one that plagued the Indian River Lagoon on the state’s Atlantic coast between 2012 and 2013. During that time, more than 300 pelicans died, along with dozens of dolphins and more than 150 manatees. Scientists have yet to figure out what killed them — and the manatee die-off began again last year.
Courtesy of

Hundreds of dead fish found in a lagoon in Petrolina, Brazil

Fish Kill Alert
Hundreds of fish were found dead Tuesday in a pond in the Jatobá neighborhood, east side of Petrolina, in the Sertão de Pernambuco. It is not yet known what caused the death of the fish, all of the tilapia species.
The fish died on Monday night (16). When the day dawned, the residents of the area were frightened. “I did not even think I had that much fish here. Yesterday I had a little bit, today it has appeared more and for sure they will die everything, as it is there, there is no escape, “said area supervisor Osmando Sabino. 
One of the main hypotheses to explain what happened is that the water may have become warmer, which has reduced the amount of oxygen. Unable to breathe, the fish died. Ibama was on the spot and does not rule out another possibility for the fish’s death.
“It is not ruled out that someone has thrown some poison, given that the land is fully open and has access to the public. Here comes direct sewage, so someone may have spilled a poison glass in a sewage box and I came to stop here, “said Ibama’s fishing engineer, Vanderlei Pinheiro.
According to Ibama, the investigation is compromised because of the amount of sewage that is released into the lagoon. The fishing engineer warns that the population will not eat dead fish under any circumstances.
“Do not let the people consume, do not let the people fish and dry to avoid access to the public. If he had an award that could be held responsible, Ibama would file a bill against the company or individual or legal entity, with a fine of R $ 5,000 to R $ 50,000, plus a penalty of three years imprisonment, “Vanderlei said.
In a statement, the Municipal Environmental Agency (Amma) said it will send technicians to the site to have an analysis of what may have caused the death of the fish. He was not informed when the animals will be removed from the pond. According to Amma, the lagoon works irregularly as a sewage stabilization pond that caters to the surrounding condos and which has a low concentration of oxygen, which may have killed the fish.
Compesa confirmed that in the Jatobá neighborhood there is no stabilization pond built by the company. The agency took the opportunity to inform that to put the collector system in operation in the Jatobá neighborhood, is completing projects and closing partnerships. Works are expected to start in the first half of this year.
Courtesy of

10 dead dolphins found washed up, ‘experts baffled’, in Cornwall, England

The dolphin found at Smeaton's Pier in St Ives, Cornwall
The dolphin found at Smeaton’s Pier in St Ives, Cornwall – NEWS@BRITISHNEWS.CO.UK
MYSTERY surrounds the deaths of 10 dolphins found washed up on West country beaches in as many days.
There are fears that stormy weather, trawler nets, pollution and perhaps even jet skiers have created a deadly cocktail that is killing the beautiful, gentle marine creatures.
It comes as mass strandings of mackerel in Cornwall continue to puzzle experts.
Local resident Clare Riley was among those who found the latest dead dolphin at the weekend.
It was lying on the beach near Smeaton’s Pier in St Ives and is the tenth to be found dead on beaches along the Cornwall coast in the space of ten days.
“It was sad to see – I’ve been in Cornwall for six years waiting and hoping to see dolphins and I was finally rewarded two weeks ago with an awesome display of a pod playing and surfing the waves at Gwithian” she said.
Another resident, Tony Mason, said “I saw them at Gwithian last Sunday, swimming around jet skiers.
“To then find that one dead was so sad. Such a beautiful creature.”
Between January and March last year, 61 dolphins, porpoises and whales were found dead around Cornwall’s coast, the steepest rise in the death toll since 2006, according to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.
In the past year 61 dolphins, porpoises and whales have been found dead around Cornwall's coast
In the past year 61 dolphins, porpoises and whales have been found dead around Cornwall’s coast – NEWS@BRITISHNEWS.CO.UK
Thousands of dead fish lie scattered across the beach at low tide
Thousands of dead fish lie scattered across the beach at low tide – SOUTH WEST NEWS SERVICE
They said previous post-mortem tests showed creatures washed up on the shores had died from pollution, illnesses, natural causes and after being caught in fishing nets.
Scientists have been working with the fishing community to fit sea-going trawlers and other boats in Cornwall larger than 14m with ‘pingers’, which emit underwater noises to drive dolphins away from fishing nets.
Abby Crosby, from the wildlife trust, urged people to report any dead cetaceans.
“The most important piece of advice is for people to report these sightings of stranded cetaceans so we can gather more information on what is killing them” she said
St Ives beach where dolphins have been found
St Ives beach where dolphins have been found – NEWS@BRITISHNEWS.CO.UK
Paul Trebilcock, from the Cornish Fish Producers’ Organisation said “Cornish fishermen have been at the forefront of using acoustic pingers.
“All of this is hopefully contributing towards a reduction in the interaction between fishing gear and cetaceans.”
A wildlife trust spokesman added: “This information is vital in helping us to conserve wildlife and cannot be learnt from studying live animals. We can learn about causes of death and threats to survival.
“Through this information researchers can learn more about the animals, including their diet, distribution, behaviour among the same – and different- species, health and diseases, reproduction and the effects of pollution.”
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430,000 birds to be killed due to bird flu in Southern Bulgaria

Bird Flu
A virulent bird flu virus has spread to 55 poultry farms in Bulgaria prompting the veterinary authorities to announce a cull of some 430,000 birds since it was first detected in the middle of December, agriculture minister Dessislava Taneva said on Saturday.
The Balkan country has also registered four cases of bird flu in wild ducks since mid-December.
Bulgaria has imposed a nationwide ban on poultry markets and on the hunting of game birds, and has already spent over a million levs ($543,714) to cull birds in a bid to contain the outbreak.
“In Bulgaria, we have usually registered bird flu in wild birds in the past few years. It is the first time we have had so many outbreaks in farms,” Taneva told Bulgarian Darik radio.
The southern region of Plovdiv was most affected by the highly pathogenic virus H5N8, she said, pointing out that some 300,000 birds, mainly ducks, were culled and another 130,000 were to be killed on Saturday.
The authorities have imposed quarantine zones around the affected farms.
Taneva said over 800 bird flu outbreaks have been detected in Europe since October, with Germany and France being most affected.
Courtesy of

Mass die off of fish in the waters of Wilhelmshausen, Germany

Fish Kill Alert
Eel, perch, pike, roach eye – all dead. Martin Engelmann is shocked. The 77-year-old angler can not comprehend the mysterious fish death at the lock at Wilhelmshausen. “This is a disaster,” says the Kassel hobby fisherman, who has been fishing in the area for 40 years.
Who is responsible for death? Engelmann has a guess: the waterway and shipping office in Hann. Münden, which operates the sluice.
“It must have to do with the regulation of the state,” says the Kasseler, “like many other anglers, I also believe that the dams were drained too fast.”
“I’ve never seen anything like this before, I could really cry.”
This led to the fact that the fish from the area with normally calm waters could not swim in time and died miserably. “I’ve never seen anything like it, I could really cry,” says Engelmann.
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Thousands of fish die in a lake in St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

Fish Kill Alert
St. Petersburg city workers have been collecting thousands of pounds of dead fish from the Riviera Bay neighborhood that are apparently making pelicans sick, as well.
The city says they collected two more dead pelicans Friday, bringing the total to nine. The Seaside Seabird Sanctuary says they collected 6 more sick pelicans today. That brings the number to 10 sick pelicans now recovering.
City workers have found the sick and dead pelicans over the past few days, according to Stormwater director John Norris.  
“It looks like we have a classic thermal inversion in the lake due to the low temperatures we had last week,” said Norris.
Norris told us city crews pulled 2,000 pounds of dead fish out of the Riviera Bay neighborhood lake on Thursday that’s bordered by Macoma Drive NE and Riviera Bay Drive NE. Homeowner Paul Morgan said the problem began on Tuesday.
“Pretty large, probably over 1,000 fish,” said Morgan. “All different kinds and some of them pretty fairly good size.”
Morgan said fish kills happen in the lake every few years when there’s an extreme temperature change. What’s unusual about this one is that it’s the first time birds are being killed too.
“We’ve got some birds who are in here trying to eat the fish,” he said. “It looks like they’re sick.”
Seaside Seabird Sanctuary operations manager Eddie Gayton said he’s attempted to rescue multiple pelicans and one great white egret. 
Gayton, too, said he’s not yet sure what’s killing the birds.
“They’re acting like it may be a toxin,” he said. “We’re going to do the best we can.”
The city requested FWC take water samples to check for toxic algae and complete necropsies on the dead pelicans. 
Courtesy of

Thousands of dead fish wash up along a lagoon in Patagonia, Argentina

The pejerreyes and the trout appeared mysteriously on the sand and ignited the alert since a decade ago something similar had happened in that mirror of water.
It is about Carrilaufquen lagoon, located about 15 kilometers north of Jacobacci by Provincial Route 6. For several years the lagoon had disappeared due to the great drought, and in 2014 it regained its natural state.
At the beginning of 2015 the province planted 5,000 rainbow trout fry, following a request from the neighbors and ordered by resolution to close the fishing until December 15, 2017.
“We are worried about what is going on. While the studies are going to determine what happened, we suspect it may be overpopulation,” said local Public Services Secretary Carlos Quisle.
Faced with this situation, two aquaculturists from the Andean Zone Sport Fishing Board visited the lagoon to take water samples and collect fish to send to the National University of Comahue.
The technicians admitted that “it may have been caused by lightning, by the proliferation of algae or by overpopulation of fish.”
Courtesy of