Archive | February 12, 2017

3,300 of birds and ducks dying from avian cholera in Washington, USA

Cholera Alert
An outbreak of avian cholera just downriver from the Tri-Cities has killed as many as 3,300 birds, most of them ducks, state and federal officials said Monday.
About 3,000 dead birds have been picked up at the McNary National Wildlife Refuge, nearby ponds east of Burbank and elsewhere near the refuge on private land and the Columbia River.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services continued collecting and incinerating carcasses on the McNary refuge this weekend, bringing the total there to 1,092 dead birds of the estimated 3,000 found in Washington state.
Most were ducks, but a few other birds, including a barn owl and great blue herons, also may have been killed by the avian cholera bacteria. Tests on the carcasses of emaciated raptors showed they did not have the bacteria.
In addition, about 250 to 300 dead birds have been found in Oregon.
People are not at high risk of infection, but should avoid handling sick or dead birds.
Many of the dead birds in Oregon were found along the Columbia River from the state border to Irrigon and also near Milton-Freewater, Ore., south of Walla Walla, in what is suspected to be a linked outbreak.
McNary refuge crews had been finding fewer dead birds each day, until the weather recently turned colder again and numbers jumped, said Dan Haas, visitor services manager for the Mid-Coumbia River National Wildlife Refuge.
Ducks are congregating where they find open water that has not frozen over.
“When you pack so many waterfowl so close, it is going to make it tough when an avian cholera-infected bird shows up,” said Mark Kirsch, John Day watershed acting manager for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
As high temperatures warm into the 40s, the outbreak should dissipate, Haas said.
Washington State Fish and Wildlife Department staff have not seen a recurrence of the recent outbreak on private ponds east of Burbank, said Matt Wilson, waterfowl specialist for the department.
Avian cholera is caused by a bacteria that is highly contagious and spreads quickly through bird-to-bird contact, ingestion of food or water containing the bacteria, or scavenging of infected carcasses.
Infected birds may be lethargic, swim in circles of fly erratically. They die quickly after infection, sometimes in as little as six hours.
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Hundreds of baby turtles dying due to heat on a beach in Queensland, Australia

The exact number of turtle deaths is not known at this stage, but it could be in the hundreds.
PHOTO: The exact number of deaths is not known at this stage, but it could be in the hundreds. (ABC Wide Bay: Jess Lodge)
Piles of dead turtle hatchlings are lining Queensland’s famous Mon Repos beach amid a heatwave which has pushed the sand’s temperature to a record 75 degrees Celsius.
While the majority of hatchlings break free from their nests at night when the sand is cooler, those escaping in the day face overheating.
“They can’t sweat, they can’t pant, so they’ve got no mechanism for cooling,” Department of Environment and Heritage Protection chief scientist Dr Col Limpus said.
“If they encounter very hot sand they just simply heat up.
“They slow down and that’s the end for them.
“You really only have probably an hour or so in those really hot sands and it’s terminal.”
The extreme heat is also conducted down to the turtle’s nest, pushing the temperature to about 34C, which is approaching the lethal level for incubation.
That is the hottest temperature recorded in a nest in more than a decade.
“We’ve got an increased mortality … that we haven’t been seeing in years,” Dr Limpus said.
The average hatchling survival rate is 85 per cent but due to the heat it is likely to be a lot lower this year.
The exact number of turtle deaths is not known at this stage, but hundreds have been seen dead on the beach.
The 1.6-kilometre Mon Repos beach is the most important breeding site for Loggerhead turtles in the South Pacific.
The majority of the region’s turtles are hatched on the beach, some 200,000 in a usual season.
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Thousands of dead jellyfish, ‘never seen this many before’, wash ashore in Queensland, Australia

Bubble wrap beach: Thousands of blue jellyfish invade Australian shore (PHOTOS)
© Charlotte Lawson / Facebook
Living up to its name, Deception Bay in Queensland, Australia left onlookers deceived by what lay in front of them. What looked like bubble wrap was, in fact, numerous blue jellyfish spread across the beach.
The beach, near Brisbane’s north side, received its wobbly visitors on Sunday, and many of the blue stingers have been hanging around ever since.
“They’re already starting to smell,” said Charlotte Lawson, who first photographed the jellyfish carpet.
At first, Lawson thought the jellyfish was just the tide having come in. “When we got closer we realized it was jellyfish,” she said. “It happens every year but there’s never been this many, this year it’s been heaps.”
The jellyfish are blue blubber jellyfish and are mildly venomous.
“It’s like wallpaper,” Marine biologist Lisa-Ann Gershwin told ABC News. “They are just cheek by jowl. They are packed so tightly. It’s a sea of blue.”
Gershwin said she had never seen so many jellyfish in her 25 years of research, and suggested the jellyfish cluster could have been caused by warmer waters, tide conditions, a lack of predators and other factors.
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1,300 TONS of fish have died suddenly in lake Sebu, Philippines

Fish Kill Alert
LAKE SEBU, South Cotabato—A massive fish kill has left this lakeside town, Central Mindanao’s largest tilapia supplier, gasping for air.
More than P120 million worth of tilapia grown in Lake Sebu was lost in what officials said was the worst fish kill to hit this town in years.
Authorities blamed heavy rain triggered by the tail end of a cold front and a low pressure area last month, spawning floods and turning the water turbid in the 354-hectare lake where the town got its name.
Mayor Antonio Fungan asked the local council to declare the town under a state of calamity to facilitate the release of calamity funds that the local government will use to help pen operators.
“[The fish kill] is unprecedented and unbelievable,” he said.
Zaldy Artacho, municipal agriculture officer, said some 1,300 tons of tilapia and milkfish turned belly up since the fish kill started two weeks ago. A kilogram of tilapia sells for P90 to P100 in the local market.
Jose Rudy Muyco, Lake Sebu fish warden, said the local government has yet to complete an audit of losses on the aquaculture industry here.
Unlike previous fish kills, including an incident in October last year, the recent fish kill killed all tilapia here, said Seigfred Flaviano, provincial environment officer, who led an inspection team in the lake on Wednesday.
“We did not see any live fish in the lake during the survey,” Flaviano said.
“Lake Sebu is … gasping,” Fungan said.
He asked Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol to help operators of 464 fish cages in the town.
As in the past, local officials cited the depletion of oxygen supply in the lake as the reason for the massive fish kill.
Lake Sebu has been experiencing light to moderate rain in the past two weeks, making the level of dissolved oxygen in the lake to drop fast.
Fungan also blamed pollutants from fish feed and other chemicals that runoff water carried into the lake for triggering the fish kill.
Mila Lorca, chief of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said dead fish harvested from the lake should not be eaten.
Lorca said a massive cleanup drive should be undertaken to remove rotting fish in the water since these put the health of people living around the lake at risk.
South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Fuentes, in 2013, had called for a massive rehabilitation of the lake to avoid fish kills.
But Fuentes said residents should consider giving way and fish cage operators should agree to reduce the size of areas they occupy to save the lake.
Fuentes said residents living around the lake should also agree to move back a few meters so trees and bamboo could be planted on its rim.
“If they hold [property] titles, can we prod them to move back a little so we could plant trees and bamboo?” she asked.
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Thousands of dead fish wash up in Porthcawl Harbour, Wales

Fish Kill Alert
The appearance of hundreds ­ possibly thousands – of dead fish in Porthcawl Marina harbour is not a pollution incident – a council spokesman has insisted.
The explanation is that they are all freshwater fish ­ – caught up in an overflow from the Wilderness Lake about a mile away.
Sadly, the freshwater fish could not survive in the salt sea water.
Some dead fish were visible earlier in the week, but on Friday morning there were hundreds – possibly thousands – floating on the water.
A spokesman for Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) told The GEM that the sluice gates were opened whenever water levels in the Wilderness Lake reached a certain level.
However, it was very unusual for a large number of fish to get caught in the discharge.
Some of the fish appear to be silver bream – a freshwater fish
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63,000 birds to be killed due to bird flu in Lancashire, UK

Bird Flu
About 63,000 birds are due to be culled at a Lancashire farm to prevent the spread of bird flu, which has already been found at two nearby premises.
The decision was made after animal health investigators were unable to rule out the presence of H5N8 avian flu at a third farm in Wyre.
They said a “pro-active culling” would take place of birds including pheasants, partridges and ducks.
The Food Standards Agency said the disease was not a risk to food safety.
Public Health England said the risk to public health from the virus was very low.
‘Restrictions in place’
The first outbreak was discovered last week at a farm in Wyre with 10,000 birds, followed by a second case involving a flock of about 1,000 birds.
Defra said the third premises would be cleansed and disinfected, “further reducing the risk that disease can be spread to other birds”.
“Our investigations will continue and the restrictions already placed on the sites will remain in force until cleansing and disinfection is finished and the investigation is complete,” a spokesperson said.
In January, there have been a number of other outbreaks of the virus, including at farms in Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire and in Carmarthenshire.
Courtesy of BBC News

400 dead monkeys found in the forests of Espirito Santo, Brazil

In the Atlantic Forest of Espírito Santo, where different species of monkeys lived in a racket, silence remained. The disappearance of the monkeys attracted attention and residents and researchers from the Federal University of Espírito Santo. They found many dead animals in the forest. In one week they counted 400 dead monkeys of endangered species. The suspicion is that they may have been bitten by mosquitoes transmitting yellow fever. The cases of yellow fever in the region began in the East of Minas and arrived in Espírito Santo.
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Masses of dead fish washing up again on beaches in Florida, USA

Fish Kill Alert
Dead fish are once again washing up along Suncoast beaches. The mass fish kills are being blamed on red tide, an algae bloom that causes reduced oxygen levels in area waters.
“You have to watch where you step, you might step on a cat fish,” said Sarasota lifeguard Brad Ward.
Throughout Sarasota, going north into Manatee County and as far south as Venice, area beaches have been inundated with dead fish washing ashore.
“It’s just a microscopic algae bloom, basically, that causes the water to turn red. It’s taking the oxygen away from the fish,” said Ward.
Ward says they’ve posted signs all over area beaches in an effort to inform visitors about red tide and its impacts. Area health departments and Mote Marine scientists have also issued warnings saying the impact goes beyond the marine life.
“Volunteers reporting what they see and hear have noticed dead fish as well as respiratory irritation which could be coughing or sneezing,” said Hayley Rutger, Mote spokesperson.
Rutger says those with respiratory illness should use extra caution. “With respiratory conditions such as COPD, asthma, anything that’s chronic, it can be exasperated by red tide so you want to pay attention to those forecast.”
But the impact isn’t just affecting people with respiratory diseases. Beach goers like Holli Dupuis says she normally doesn’t have breathing issues but after a few minutes at an area beach she and her husband’s throats became irritated.
“We went to Manatee Beach on Sunday and as soon as we put our chairs up, we were coughing and we could hear people around us coughing. I said to Bruce, it sounds line a hospital ward with everyone coughing,” added Dupuis.
Officials say those who are sensitive to red tide should avoid impacted areas. They also add red tide is constantly moving so you need to check the marine forecast before you head out.
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10,000+ pheasants to be killed due to bird flu in Lancashire, UK

Bird Flu
A second outbreak of bird flu has been confirmed in Lancashire, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has said.
The H5N8 avian flu strain was confirmed in a flock of about 1,000 pheasants at a premises in Pilling, Preston, by the UK’s deputy chief veterinary officer, Graeme Cooke.
Defra said there was a business link between the site and a nearby farm where the infection was found in a flock of about 10,000 pheasants earlier this week.
A 3km (1.8 mile) protection zone and a 10km (6.2 mile) surveillance zone had been put in place around both infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading.
A Defra spokesman said: “This case was proactively identified as part of a routine investigation of premises traced as a result of confirmation of the disease in Lancashire earlier this week. There is a business link between the two premises.”
A number of the birds in the latest case had died and the others would be culled humanely.
Public Health England has advised that the risk to public health from the virus is very low, and the Food Standards Agency made clear that bird flu did not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.
On 16 January, Defra confirmed a case of bird flu in a flock of about 6,000 turkeys at a farm in East Lindsey, Lincolnshire.
Earlier in the month, the strain was discovered in two small backyard flocks of chickens and ducks on a premises near Settle, in North Yorkshire, and Carmarthenshire, south-west Wales.
An avian influenza prevention zone was declared on 6 December and would remain in place until February 28. It required owners to keep poultry and captive birds indoors or to take steps to separate them from wild birds.
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