Dead Greater Flamingos at Miankaleh, Iran, this week (ISNA Iran)
Upward of 10,000 birds have been found dead at the Miankaleh peninsula, situated on the Caspian Sea shore in north-east Iran, in recent days.
According to Hossein-Ali Ebrahimi, head of Mazandaran province’s department of environment, the corpses involve many different species, including Greater Flamingos, as well as ducks and grebes.
Ebrahimi noted that a group of experts from Iran’s Department of Environment (DoE) has been sent to Mazandaran province to investigate the cause of the migratory birds’ deaths. The carcasses were being collected for testing, with most being buried with sanitary precautions taken.
He said the DoE has banned hunting of migratory birds in the eastern parts of the province, where Miankaleh is located, until the investigations are carried out, adding that in order to maintain human health, the sale of any migratory birds in nearby cities would also be suspended until the exact cause of the deaths is known.
Influenza has already been ruled out as a cause of the mass die-off, but the reason for the shocking event remains unclear. While it is possible that this is a human-induced event, with deliberate poisoning carried out, the most likely explanation is natural water contamination through poisoning by algae and/or plankton, causing botulism. A similar event occurred in Rajasthan, north-east India, in November 2019.
Miankaleh is a narrow and long peninsula situated in the extreme south-eastern part of the Caspian Sea, covering an area of more than 68,800 ha. The peninsula is 48 km long, between 1.3 and 3.2 km wide, and sets apart the Gorgan Bay from the Caspian Sea. The wetland there is a wildlife sanctuary and hosts huge numbers of waterbirds throughout the seasons.
Miankaleh was registered as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1975. Then, in 1976, the peninsula was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO.
The reserve’s ecological importance is particularly highlighted by the 250,000 migratory birds it hosts in winter, including Dalmatian Pelicans, Russian White-fronted and Greylag Geese, and White-headed Duck.
Courtesy of birdguides.com
The dead ducks in several places on the banks of the Quenamari lagoon, in the Itocta Commune of the city. | DANIEL JAMES
Quenamari lagoon was full of herons, ducks of different species and flamingos. However, the picture changed drastically. Now, you have a mirror of water with more than 20 dead ducks, either on the banks, floating or being devoured by dogs.
Los Tiempos made a tour of almost half a lagoon in the southwest sector. It identified 18 ducks and other dead birds. Some were with the skeleton discovered, while others had the appearance of having only a few hours without life.
In addition, there were birds watered by the dry sectors. Also, it was noticed the presence of several packs that had in their snouts some of these to eat them.
The ornithologist Dennis Camacho explained that, in the visit they made with a group of biologists, they identified more than 20 ducks of three species, dead, in addition to other birds such as waterbirds.
“It’s a high death toll. It is not normal. These birds feed on algae and microinvertebrates that live in the water. It’s possible that it’s something in the water, “Camacho explained.
The specialist indicated that they could not take any dead duck, because the people of the area were quite reluctant with their presence. However, they moved an agonizing duck to Agroflori to be treated.
On the other hand, one of those in charge of Agroflori, Soledad Vargas, explained that the duck arrived with diarrhea. In addition, it had affectations by an apparent fall.
They also received several messages from people who pointed out the presence of ducks that fell in their homes. All of them were sent to the Forestry and Environmental Police (Pofoma) for their rescue and delivery to the Government.
However, it is also the Mayor’s task to do a toxicological examination to determine the cause of death of the ducks. A similar situation was experienced years ago in the Alalay lagoon and the municipality was responsible.
The panorama of the lagoon became bleak. There is almost no life. The water has algae and totorales without any type of management. It is in abandonment.
Courtesy of lostiempos.com