Over 60,000 Antelope Die in Four Days

Biologists are stymied by the deaths of 60,000 antelope in four days and over 257,000 total in the Kazakhstan area.

The total number of dead saigas, a steppe-dwelling antelope, was one third of the critically endangered animal’s total population.

“But since there happened to be die-offs of limited extent during the last years, at first we were not really alarmed,” geoecologist Steffen Zuther, the international coordinator of the Altyn Dala Conservation Initiative, told Live Science.

“The extent of this die-off, and the speed it had, by spreading throughout the whole calving herd and killing all the animals, this has not been observed for any other species,” Zuther said. “It’s really unheard of.”

Necropsies on the animals have just deepened the mystery.  Tissue samples revealed toxins and bacteria that caused extensive internal bleeding.  However, the bacteria in the bodies were normally in the animals, and it usually doesn’t cause harm unless the animal already had a weakened immune system.

The study also showed all the bacteria present were the basic “garden variety” bacteria.

“There is nothing so special about it. The question is why it developed so rapidly and spread to all the animals,” Zuther said.

A similar die-off happened in Russia in 1988 but the Russian scientists listed the common bacteria as the cause without further research.

Chinese River “Turns To Blood”

“The river looked like it turned to blood.”

Residents of the Zhejiang province made similar statements to reporters all morning after the river running through their villages turned blood red.

“The really weird thing is that we have been able to catch fish because the water is normally so clear,” one resident said.

The river reportedly was fine around 5 a.m. according to fisherman but within an hour had turned blood red and created a foul smell.  Fish within the river are reportedly dying and washing up on riverbanks.

Government inspectors say the cause has to be illegal dumping in the river.

“We suspect that somebody dumped artificial coloring in the water because he thought the typhoon yesterday would cause heavy rain, and nobody would notice [the color],” Jianfeng Xiao, Chief of the Wenzhour Environmental Protection Bureau told China News.

Deadly Pig Virus Expected To Surge After Summer

A deadly virus that has already decimated the U.S. pig population is expected to see a major surge after the summer months.

Veterinarians are warning that the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus will skyrocket during the fall with a potential 2.5 million pigs likely to die in the next 12 months. The USDA has been downplaying the virus, with USDA secretary Tom Vilsack claiming the U.S. is “on the other side” of the disease of a vaccine available to farmers.

However, vets on the ground and dealing with the problem say that the prevalence of the virus could overcome any immunity developed within a herd.  Even the maker of the vaccine, Harrisvaccines of Iowa, said they do not know the vaccine’s effectiveness when the weather begins to turn cold.

The virus has already killed 10 percent of the U.S. pig population and pork prices have risen to an all-time high.  An economist for the USDA said the records will continue to be set and it’s likely prices will jump at least another 50 cents a pound by the end of the year.

A further outbreak of PEDv would cause an even more significant increase.

Complicating the problem for American hog farmers is that China, Russia and Japan have restricted the import of pigs because of the viral outbreak.

Nevada Officials Find All Fish Dead In Lake

Nevada state wildlife officials are completely baffled as to the reason all the fish in a northern Nevada marina have died.

Over 100,000 trout, bass and catfish have been found dead in the past month in the Sparks Marina near Interstate 80 east of Reno.  A sudden dramatic drop of dissolved oxygen levels in the water is being blamed for the deaths.

Officials say they have no reason for the decreased oxygen.

Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman Chris Healy said that the 100,000 figure is likely a conservative estimate for the fish kill. The Department had been stocking the lake with about 1 million fish since 1998.

“We don’t know if any small fish have survived, but for all intents and purposes, the fishery doesn’t exist anymore,” Healy told the Associated Press.

The Department stocking of the lake scheduled for late February has been cancelled pending further testing.

Flash Freeze Kills Thousands Of Fish In Norway

Residents of Lovund off the Norway coast awoke to a shocking site.

A flash freeze of a lake froze thousands of fish at the surface of the water.  Officials cannot estimate the number of fish that were discovered in the solid block of ice covering the lake.

Scientists from Havforskningsinstituttet, a marine research institute, said that the fish may have been chased close to the surface by some kind of predator.  The temperature overnight before the freeze was 18 degrees Fahrenheit but a strong wind is believed to have caused the flash freeze.

This is not the first death of animals from a flash freeze in Norway during the last week.  Last week a moose was flash frozen in Kosmo Lake.

NBC News: Shutdown worsens historic blizzard that killed tens of thousands of South Dakota cattle

An unusually early and enormous snowstorm over the weekend caught South Dakota ranchers and farmers unprepared, killing tens of thousands of cattle and ravaging the state’s $7 billion industry — an industry left without assistance because of the federal government shutdown.

As many as 75,000 cattle have perished since the storm slammed the western part of the state Thursday through Saturday with snowfall that set records for the entire month of October in just three days, state and industry officials said.

Across the state, snow totals averaged 30 inches, with some isolated areas recording almost 5 feet, The Weather Channel reported.

The South Dakota Stock Growers Association estimated that 15 percent to 20 percent of all cattle were killed in some parts of the state. Some ranchers reported that they lost half or more of their herds.

Source: NBC News – NBC News: Shutdown worsens historic blizzard that killed tens of thousands of South Dakota cattle

Molasses Spill Kills All Wildlife In Its Path

A pipe’s failure led to tons of molasses being dumped into a Hawaii harbor near Honolulu killing all the marine life in its path.

Over 1,400 tons of molasses was released into the ocean creating over 200,000 gallons of sugar water. In addition, the molasses is sinking to the bottom of the ocean and coating the sea floor. Fish and other marine life are unable to escape the sticky substance and die from lack of oxygen. Continue reading