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» »Unlabelled » ***WATCH LIST 1 - NATURE AND ANIMALS ARE DYING*** Animals Dropping Dead Worldwide


(10) Mass Tree Deaths in the Amazon home

Scientists fear billions of tree deaths caused by 2010 drought could see vast forest turn from carbon sink to carbon source. Aerial view of a drought-affected area within the Amazon basin in Manaus, Brazil. Photograph: Rodrigo Baleia/LatinContent/Getty ImagesBillions of trees died in the record drought that struck the Amazon in 2010, raising fears that the vast forest is on the verge of a tipping point, where it will stop absorbing greenhouse gas emissions and instead increase them.The dense forests of the Amazon soak up more than one-quarter of the world’s atmospheric carbon, making it a critically important buffer against global warming. But if the Amazon switches from a carbon sink to a carbon source that prompts further droughts and mass tree deaths, such a feedback loop could cause runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences.”Put starkly, current emissions pathways risk playing Russian roulette with the world’s largest forest,” said tropical forest expert Simon Lewis, at the University of Leeds, and who led the research published today in the journal Science. Lewis was careful to note that significant scientific uncertainties remain and that the 2010 and 2005 drought – thought then to be of once-a-century severity – might yet be explained by natural climate variation.”We can’t just wait and see because there is no going back,” he said. “We won’t know we have passed the point where the Amazon turns from a sink to a source until afterwards, when it will be too late.”




Shocking Mass Animal Deaths Around The World

by Blythe Copeland

Just a few weeks into 2011, and it’s already a tough year for the animal kingdom: Mass deaths of blackbirds, spot fish, sardines, croakers, doves, and other creatures are going mostly unexplained in regions all over the world (as this helpful Google Map points out).

But these population injuries aren’t entirely uncommon: From beached whales and dead penguins to massive fish kills and threatened manatees, 2010 had its share of bad news, too.

Often these events are blamed on temperature change, human activity, or natural causes, but in many of the cases we’ve included here, we may never know exactly what caused massive destruction on these fragile populations.

Image: Google Maps

Article includes the following animals:


(9) Birds Dying Around the World

Image: Inquistr

Bird deaths have been getting most of the attention lately, as reports of thousands of birds dropping out of these sky have come in from the United States, Sweden, New Zealand, and other countries worldwide.

On New Year’s Eve, 2,000 blackbirds died in Arkansas; similar deaths in Louisiana and Kentucky followed.

Sweden reported 50 dead birds a few days later, and 100 more dead blackbirds were found in New Zealand. Current thinking is that the birds were victims of physical trauma — which could mean anything from a lightening strike or hail to fireworks that frightened the birds into colliding with each other.

Photo: hart_curt/Creative Commons


(8) Whales in New Zealand

beached pilot whales photo

New Zealand is dangerous territory for the pilot whales that pass by the island during breeding season each year.

Last winter, 168 of the massive mammals were found stranded on beaches and couldn’t be rescued (though conservation workers were able to save 76 other beached whales in the region).

In 2003, 160 whales died in the same region — though biologists are still unable to say exactly why the area is so treacherous.

Photo: China Daily


(7) Penguins in Brazil

penguin mass death photo

It’s not unusual for residents of Sao Paulo, Brazil, to find a few dead penguins on their beaches in the summer: It’s migrating season for the Magellans, and there are always a few that don’t survive the trip.

But last summer, officials found “an absurdly high number” of the birds dead on their beaches: nearly 500 (the usual annual count is around 10).

While many of the birds were found with empty stomachs, indicating starvation as a cause of death, the cause of the starvation remains a mystery.

Photo: elisfanclub/Creative Commons


(6) Fish Near the Gulf of Mexico

dead catfish alabama photo

The long-term effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are still coming to light, but two massive fish kills shortly after the spill in nearby regions put environmentalists on guard.

TreeHugger’s Brian Merchant captured these images of dead catfish littering the beaches of Dauphin Island, Alabama, in May 2010; though he says that the fish wash up on those beaches for other reasons — like disease, and fishing — the numbers this year were higher than usual.

And in September, countless sea creatures of varying kinds — including pogies, redfish, shrimp, eel, crabs, and more — were found clogging a section of the Mississippi River in Louisiana.

Though initial reports pointed to the oil spill as the culprit, later research showed that the fish were the victims of a deadly combination of low tides and unseasonably warm waters.

Photo: Brian Merchant


(5) Fish in Maryland and Massachusetts

fish kill chesapeake mass death photo

Fish in the Atlantic can be just as susceptible to the warming waters as their fellow swimmers in the south, though — as illustrated by two major fish kills in the northern U.S. that occurred within four months of each other.

In August, residents of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, called attention to thousands of Menhaden fish that were washing up on beaches; local marine fisheries explained that the Menhadens are especially “sensitive to environmental changes,” and gave the cause of death as “lack of oxygen due to warmer waters.”

Then, in early January, 2 million adult spot fish died in the Chesapeake Bay, where record lows of 36 degrees in December caused “cold-water stress” that the fish couldn’t overcome. (The region had seen similar die-offs before: 15 million fish in 1976 and another in 1980.)

Photo: Baltimore Sun


(4) Devil Crabs in England

mass crab death kent photo

Within the first week of 2011, officials in Kent, England, reported that devil crabs were washing up on the coastline in massive numbers.

While the crabs were the major invaders — The Mirror estimated that 40,000 dead Devil Crabs made up the bulk of the influx — they weren’t alone.

Other sea life, including starfish, lobsters, anemones, and sponges, were spotted on the beaches, too. Here, though, experts blamed temperature change for the mass death, pinning it to “hypothermia after the UK’s coldest December in 120 years.”

Screenshot: BBC


(3) Sardines in Brazil

dead sardines brazil photo

On December 30, the fishing industry in Parana, Brazil, ground to a halt as more than 100 tons of dead sardine, croaker, and catfish began landing on its beaches.

Initial reports pointed to an “environmental imbalance” or to a chemical spill that could have affected the fish population — and Planet Green points out that a naturally-occurring ocean event, like a toxic algae bloom, or the results of human activities (especially bottom trawling) could have the same end result.

Photo: rockyeda/Creative Commons


(2) Manatees in Florida

manatees mass death photo

Fish aren’t the only creatures threatened by a change in water temperature: For a group of manatees in the Gulf of Mexico, unusually cold weather is a dangerous thing.

Last year, more than 100 manatees washed up on the shores of South Florida in the first three weeks of January alone — officials blamed that death toll on chilly waters.

This year, the BBC reports that 300 manatees have fled the cool currents for the warmth of discharge canals at Big Bend Power Station in Tampa, Florida.

Photo: USFWS/Southeast/Creative Commons


(1) Doves in Italy

doves mass death photo

Residents of Faenza, Italy, have been faced with the deaths of far more than two turtle doves: 1,000 of the birds have been found dead in the village in the last few days.

The birds were all found with blue stains on their beaks; scientists’ current theory is that the birds stuffed themselves with sunflower seeds from an industrial site and “suffered from indigestion that led to their death.” The blue stains, they say, are a result of a lack of oxygen that’s a warning sign for altitude sickness.

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