Archive | October 13, 2019

Thousands of sea #birds found dead along coast during past 2 months in #Alaska, #USA

Bird Alert

In May 2019, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Park Service (NPS) began receiving reports of dead and dying seabirds from the northern Bering and Chukchi seas, including near Bering Land Bridge National Preserve.

From late June to early August, thousands of Short-tailed Shearwaters were reported dead and washing up on beaches in the Bristol Bay region, or observed weak and attempting to feed from salmon gillnets in inland waters. By mid-August, the shearwater die-off had extended north, in smaller numbers but widespread locations, into the northern Bering and Chukchi seas along the coasts of Alaska and the Chukotka Peninsula of Russia. Puffins, murres, and auklets are also being reported, but at much lower numbers than shearwaters. Additionally, live Short-tailed Shearwaters have been observed in large numbers this August in the Gulf of Alaska, along the coasts of Glacier Bay and Kenai Fjords national parks, and bays of Kodiak Island. It is unusual to see this species in high abundance in these areas, as it is typically offshore and comes from the southern hemisphere to forage in the Bering and Chukchi seas during the summer and fall.

Historically, seabird die-offs have occurred occasionally in Alaska; however, large die-off events have occurred each year since 2015. Consistently, dead birds examined from the Bering and Chukchi seas during these recent die-offs were determined to have died due to starvation. Seabird carcasses from the 2019 die-off events were collected from multiple locations and sent to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wildlife Health Center for examination and testing. Initial results indicate starvation as the cause of death for most locations. However, in southeast Alaska, exposure to saxitoxin (a biotoxin associated with paralytic shellfish poisoning) was linked in June to a localized die-off of breeding Arctic Terns. Analyses of tissue samples for harmful algal bloom toxins are on-going and results will be shared as they become available. To date there has been no evidence of disease.

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7,000 #pigs killed due to #AfricanSwineFever in #Philippines

African Swine Fever Alert

The Philippines has reported its first cases of African swine fever, becoming the latest country hit by the disease that has killed pigs from Slovakia to China, pushing up pork prices worldwide.

The virus is not harmful to humans but causes haemorrhagic fever in pigs that almost always ends in death. There is no antidote or vaccine and the only known method to prevent the disease from spreading is a mass cull of affected livestock.

Over the last year ASF has spread rapidly in Asia. The first official outbreak was in China in August 2018, but it has since spread to Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Mongolia and North Korea.

The Philippine outbreak began with the identification of infected pigs in two towns near the Philippine capital, Manila, and authorities have culled more than 7,000 pigs within a one-kilometre (0.6-mile) radius, said the agriculture minister, William Dar.

He said the country was not facing an epidemic and urged Filipinos to continue eating pork, which is a critical market and accounts for 60% of meat consumption in the Philippines.

The Asian country is the world’s eighth biggest pork producer by volume and its swine industry is estimated at 260bn pesos (£4bn), according to the agriculture department.

Dar said 14 of 20 samples sent to a UK laboratory tested positive for African swine fever, but it would take a week to confirm how virulent the strain is.

The virus was first recorded in Rodriguez town, six miles east of Manila. Other undisclosed areas are being closely monitored for possible infection, he added.

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5,000+ #ducks killed due to #BirdFlu in #Taiwan

Bird Flu

A farm in southern Taiwan had to cull 5,119 ducks after a sample tested positive for the H5N2 strain of avian influenza.

Liberty Times reported Monday (Sept. 9) the outbreak occurred at a duck farm in Wandan Township, Pingtung County, according to the city’s Animal Disease Control Center. Birds affected with the highly-pathogenic virus strain do not usually appear ill – hence, infection is determined through sampling.

Sterilization measures have been taken at the poultry farm and in the surrounding areas following the outbreak. Monitoring work will be enforced within a 1-kilometer radius of the affected duck farm, the center said.

Animal health authorities urged the island’s poultry farmers to avoid free range husbandry, so as to reduce the chances of bird flu spreading. They were also urged to report any irregularities so the disease can be effectively controlled.

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Massive die off of #fish washes up on beach in#Lido, #JohorBahru, #Malaysia

Fish Kill Alert

A large number of dead fish appeared again on the seaside of Lido, Johor Bahru, causing the attention of Johor, the Minister of State of Johor. He instructed the Environment Bureau to conduct a thorough investigation of the cause of the death of fish stocks due to insufficient oxygen in the local seawater and to investigate the sewage systems of various development projects in the vicinity.

A large number of dead fish appeared on the Lido seaside on August 28 and attracted the attention of the government. There was a similar situation again on Friday (6th). This time, the number of dead fish is more, and the smell is more intense. Even the drivers can smell the smell through the local area.

Sarudin is also a member of the state of Mui Haji District of Muar. He told the media in Bukit Hajj last weekend (7th) that there were two large-scale fish deaths in the Lido seaside within two weeks. The Environmental Bureau must thoroughly investigate the cause of the incident.

He pointed out that the authorities are still investigating the incident, so it is currently impossible to blame either party or point the finger at nearby development projects.

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4.7 MILLION #pigs killed due to #AfricanSwineFever in all 63 provinces of #Vietnam

African Swine Fever Alert

Vietnam has culled about 4.7 million pigs to contain an outbreak of African swine fever that has spread to all 63 provinces in the Southeast Asian country, an official said on Friday.

The disease first detected in February has been hard to contain because there is no vaccine, said Pham Van Dong, head of the Animal Health Department.

“We have culled around 4.7 million pigs and, as you can see, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has confirmed that the outbreak has now spread to all 63 provinces and cities,” Dong told Reuters.

Pork accounts for three-quarters of total meat consumption in Vietnam, a country of 96 million people where most of its farm-raised pigs are consumed domestically.

Vietnam’s pig herd at end July was down 18.5% to 22.2 million pigs since December.

The pork industry is valued at 94 trillion dong ($4 billion) a year, or nearly 10% of the country’s agricultural sector.

Farm hygiene is the best way to protect the pig herd, deputy agriculture minister Phung Duc Tien told the Ho Chi Minh City Law newspaper.

“Applying biosecurity in farming will help meet domestic demand for pork through the end of this year and help keep consumer prices under control,” Tien was quoted as saying.

African swine fever was first detected in Asia last year in China, the world’s largest pork producer. China’s pig herd shrank by 32.2% in July from the same month a year ago.

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100 MILLION #pigs dead due to #AfricanSwineFever in #China

African Swine Fever Alert

African swine fever has wiped out a third of China’s pig population. Now government officials are discussing dramatic steps to stabilize the world’s largest pork market.

Pork is a huge deal in China. The country is home to half of all the pigs on the planet. The meat is a staple of the Chinese diet, which means its scarcity could damage China’s social stability. The outbreak of swine fever also threatens to upend the global pork supply chain.

While Chinese authorities have already made plans to shore up the pig market — including subsidies for pig farms and families who may struggle with soaring prices — they’re stepping up efforts to deal with the crisis.

The price retailers pay for pork has spiked nearly 70% in the last year. And the average price that wholesalers pay suppliers was up 90% in the last week of August compared to a year ago, according to government data. Analysts say prices could yet go even higher.

The government on Wednesday announced more measures to encourage pig farmers and producers to breed more hogs. But they may need to go even further to plug the supply gap.

Authorities have pledged to release the government’s emergency reserves of frozen pig meat if necessary. Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said last week that the agency will “closely monitor market developments” before it makes such a decision.

It’s difficult to overstate the scale of the problem. As of July, China had lost more than 100 million pigs in the last year, according data released Tuesday by the country’s agricultural ministry.

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Hundreds of dead #fish found floating in a pond in #Goodyear, #Arizona, #USA

Fish Kill Alert

Dozens of fish at a pond in Goodyear’s Estrella Mountain Ranch community are turning up dead, and nearby residents who walk and bike in the area say because of the smell and sight. they no longer can.

In addition, some residents say this problem has been going on for a few months, and nothing is being done.

“Down by Starpointe, there are hundreds and hundreds of dead fish just floating, belly up,” said Terry Mulcahy.

“Not happy,” said Steve Johnston. “The stench is just really bad. There’s been probably been over a thousand complaints.”

Johnston is one of those people who’s sent in several complaints to the Homeowners Association (HOA).

“For the last month and a half, we’ve been slowly getting algae,” said Johnston. “It’s just been worse and worse and worse, and I’ve put in at least three reports to the HOA.”

Johnston says this is the second time this has happened, but this is the worst. This time, it’s happening in the north man-made lake, right next to the community pool. Johnston says many people are skipping the pool, or even skipping going in the area because they can’t handle the stench. He and others say they’ve done everything they can, but nothing is being done.

“It’s dead fish everywhere floating because of the lack of oxygen from the algae that’s overcome the lake,” said Johnston.

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Mass die off of #fish in #Cartagena, #Colombia

Fish Kill Alert

For the third time in fifteen days, fish mortality occurs again in El Laguito, Cartagena. Although the residents of this exclusive tourist area opened with a shovels a channel for water to circulate and the fish recover oxygen, the measure has not been sufficient and the fish continue to die.

The authorities installed two aerators with which they seek to mobilize and oxygenate the water, but only one works and, according to experts, although it was operating at its maximum capacity, it would also be insufficient.

In this case, it would be necessary to install a pumping system that allows the oxygenation of water.

The inhabitants of El Laguito are restless and ask for environmental solutions. An inhabitant confirms that there are even groups in social networks where possible demands and popular actions are advanced.

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111-foot #asteroid screeching towards #Earth at over 22,000 miles per hour

111-foot asteroid screeching towards Earth at over 22,000 miles per hour

Earth is soon set for another close shave with a hurtling space rock as an 111-foot asteroid is poised to skim past our planet on its closest approach for 115 years.

First spotted by astronomers only earlier this week, the asteroid dubbed 2019 TA7 is set to fly by Earth at a speed of over 22,500 miles per hour at 6:53pm ET on Monday, data from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) reveals.

The new celestial visitor is estimated to measure up to 111 feet in diameter and is among a group of recently discovered asteroids that have been traveling close to Earth in recent days.

The flying rock orbits the Sun once every 240 days and passes by Earth about once a year. However, Monday’s approach will be our closest encounter with it in 115 years when it passes by at a distance of about 930,000 miles, more than 50 times closer to Earth than our nearest neighbor, Mercury.

Experts have repeatedly warned that Earth has no defense against an asteroid smashing into its surface. In fact the United Nations created World Asteroid Day in a bid to raise awareness about the possibility.

The UN is particularly worried about undetected asteroids, similar to 2019 TA7, as a major concern with hazardous space objects is that we are not good at detecting them and some of the most dangerous ones have caught us by surprise.

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