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Save Our Seas – Earth Day 2013


In 2009, 55 killer whales beached on Kommetjie Long Beach in Cape Town. (2009) [Cape Town, South Africa]



Six of 19 beached whales dead, some to be euthanased (2013) [South Africa]

Sapa | 24 March, 2013 15:33

Some of the pilot whales that beached at Noordhoek Beach on Sunday morning will be put to death, the National Sea Rescue Institute said.

Six of the 19 stranded whales had already died.

Earlier, police, sea rescue and other services were on scene trying to hose down the surviving whales. The beach has been closed.

Residents were urged to stay away from the beach.

The beaching of the pilot whales was possibly the first-ever mass stranding of these creatures on the South African coast.

“I don’t think we’ve had a mass stranding of pilot whales before,” said a marine life expert, . . .

Scientific American on its website said some environmental activists had suggested that mass strandings of dolphins, whales, and other marine mammals were as a result of human impacts of pollution, shipping noise and, in some cases, military sonar.



What is killing California sea lion pups? Why unusual event is a concern (+video) (2013) [US]

By , Staff writer / April 10, 2013

California’s sea lions, usually celebrated for their entertaining, prankster ways and doglike barks, are making very different headlines right now. Young pups are washing up dehydrated and dying, from Monterey to San Diego, in record numbers.

So far, more than 1,100 of these emaciated, underweight marine mammals have come ashore – more than ten times the normal rate for this time of year. As startled residents cope with these sickly animals on local beaches, overwhelming marine mammal rescue facilities, scientists are scrambling to decipher the mysterious message behind these strandings.



Gulf Of Mexico Dolphin Deaths Point To Continued Effects Of BP Oil Spill, Group Alleges (2013) [US]

AP  |  By By JANET McCONNAUGHEY Posted: 04/02/2013 4:22 pm EDT

Continuing deaths of dolphins and sea turtles are a sign that the Gulf of Mexico is still feeling effects from the 2010 spill that spewed 200 million gallons of oil from a well a mile below the surface, a prominent environmental group said Tuesday.

The deaths — especially in dolphins, which are at the top of the food chain — are “a strong indication that there is something amiss with the Gulf ecosystem,” said National Wildlife Federation senior scientist Doug Inkley.

“Both species [dolphins, turtles] have very high mortality the first year, slightly lower the second year and the third year even lower, but still well above average,” Inkley said. “To have these deaths above average for so long a period of time is unprecedented.”

The federation’s report, “Restoring a Degraded Gulf of Mexico: Wildlife and Wetlands Three Years into the Gulf Oil Disaster,” was based on previously reported research by other scientists, including NOAA’s updates on the dolphin and sea turtle strandings.



Kelly’s Korner: Jersey shore mayor plays by own rules (2013) [New Jersey, US]

Originally Published: 4/15/2013

Mahaney said he was leaving City Hall to make our meeting when a few staffers mentioned that there was a baby seal stranded on the Queen Street jetty. Mahaney said recent efforts to restore the beaches after Superstorm Sandy partially covered the jetty with sand.

“The baby seal probably came up to sun itself on the jetty and when the tide went out it got caught between the rocks,” Mahaney explained.

Mahaney said it is rare for seals to get beached in Cape May. He said there is a pod of dolphins that harbor near Cape May Point, a town north west of Cape May, that swim by every now and then, but not many seals.



Algae Bloom Kills Over 240 Manatees In Florida (2012-2013) [US]

Posted: April 6, 2013

The record number of manatees killed by the algae bloom is not surprising. Last month researchers announced that they expected the death toll to exceed the previous record of 151, which was set in 1996.

Most of the algae bloom manatee deaths happened along Florida’s lower west coast, near Fort Myers. The algae bloom in that area started last fall and was more severe and long-lasting than normal — a situation that has scientists confused. The algae bloom largely dissipated by mid-March, but the manatees’ food supply was still tainted by toxins.

While the tide has claimed 241 of Florida’s roughly 5,000 manatees, there is no word on when the death toll numbers will stop rising.



Algae Bloom Kills Record Number Of Florida Manatees (2013) [Florida, US]

March 28, 2013 4:15 PM

Florida Fish and Wildlife officer Steve Rice routinely scours the Caloosahatchee River in southwest Florida for dead manatees. He has found more than 20 in the past few weeks.

More than 200 manatees have died in Florida’s waterways since January from an algae bloom called red tide, just as wildlife officials try to remove the marine mammal from the endangered species list.

“I think that it’s terrible. Red tide is something that is not good for the ecosystem overall and obviously not for these animals that are dying from it,” Martell says.

“It actually causes seizures,” Rice says. “When we get in the water to try and rescue them, we can actually feel them seizing as we hold their head up to help them breathe.”



Crews Cleaning up Dead Fish (2013) [Lake Erie, US]

April 18th, 2013

The massive amount of dead fish that washed up along Presque Isle are now being cleaned up.

Presque Isle officials say crews have been cleaning up the dead Gizzard Shad for the last few days.



Hundreds of dead fish found in the River Stour at Ashford (2013) [UK]

Thursday, April 18 2013

Pollution is believed to have killed hundreds of fish spotted floating along the River Stour in Ashford

Lewis Brown from the Environment Agency said: “The Environment Agency was made aware of a pollution incident on the River Stour in Ashford yesterday afternoon.

It is not believed to be related to deaths of frogs in Singleton Lakes in Ashford.



Poison scare over dead frogs found at Singelton Lakes in Ashford (2013) [UK]

by Tim Collins – April 18, 2013

A wildlife enthusiast was shocked to discover a pile of up to 50 dead frogs near an Ashford lake.

“I started searching the bushes and the more I looked, the more I found. There must have been around 40 to 50 bodies in total.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “An officer went out to the site last Thursday and Friday and reported one dead frog.

“The officer tested for dissolved oxygen and ammonia and all results have come back clear and the oxygen levels are fine.”



Fish found dead along Lake of the Prairies (2013) [Canada]

Government official blames lack of spring runoff for fish kill

CBC News

Posted: Apr 19, 2013 6:51 AM CT

Videos have surfaced on YouTube in recent days, including one showing many dead walleye in shallow waters along the lake.

Some fishermen are blaming the province for the fish kill, but officials say the fish are getting trapped under the ice because of the lack of spring runoff and the fact that there is still a lot of ice.

Topping said when officials lowered the reservoir levels, they had thought the spring runoff would have arrived by now.


(includes video)


Dead Fish and Infant Formula Are the Latest Problems to Worry China’s Consumers (2013) [China]

April 08, 2013


In the past five days, the local government has hauled about 250 kilograms (550 pounds) of what the Shanghai-based Global Times newspaper describes as “putrid, dead fish” from a river in the city’s Songjiang district.

Just as officials said the pig carcasses posed no threat to the city’s water supply, the official China Daily newspaper is quick to reassure us that there’s no reason to be concerned about the safety of the water, notwithstanding the stinky dead fish. “The water quality is stable and safe,” an official from the local water authority told the newspaper. This official, identified only by surname (Zhang), suggested the cause of death was “illegal fishing by electrocution and poisoning,” the newspaper reported.

(also found in this article – )

Increased demand [for milk and infant formula] comes at a time when the world’s largest exporter, New Zealand, is enduring the worst drought in 30 years, a disaster that has hit the country’s dairy farmers especially hard.



SCIENCE — February 16, 2012 at 3:59 PM EDT

Marine Experts Flummoxed by Mass Dolphin Strandings (2012) [CapeCod, US]

By: Jenny Marder

Since January 12, 179 dolphins have been found stranded on the sandy shores, mud flats, and shallow waters of Cape Cod, unable to swim back to sea.

Strandings have been recorded for centuries on Cape Cod; an average of 228 marine animals — that includes dolphins, whales, porpoises and seals — are beached on Cape Cod during an average year. But the magnitude — more than half the annual average in one month alone — has baffled marine experts, along with the strange fact that it’s been limited exclusively to one species: the common dolphin.

Warmer water temperatures and behavior of the animals’ prey have also been cited as possible factors.

Of the 179 stranded, 108 were found dead, according to the latest data from the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Among the 71 remaining, 53 were successfully released and 18 died, including three that were released and then restranded and four that were euthanized, due to severe injury.



2012 Mass Stranding of Common Dolphins (Delphinus delphis) on Cape Cod, MA (2012) [US]

From January 12-February 16, 2012, a total of 178 common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) have stranded in Wellfleet, MA and surrounding areas:

  • 107 dolphins stranded dead
  • 71 stranded alive
    • 56 of the live stranded dolphins have been released (53 successfully) back into the wild
    • 15 dolphins that stranded alive subsequently died or were euthanized




Dolphin Stranding In Brazil Triggers Mad Dash To Save Animals (VIDEO) (2012) [Brazil]

Huffington Post   David Freeman First Posted: 03/ 9/2012 7:19 am Updated: 03/11/2012 11:42 am

It was just another day at the beach–or so it seemed till dozens of dolphins suddenly swam in with the surf and got stranded in the sandy shallows. The dramatic video of the stranding in the Brazilian town of Arraial do Cabo — now a YouTube sensation — shows humans rushing to help their fellow mammals, pushing and pulling hard to help the animals reach deeper water.

Strandings of dolphins and whales are more common than is commonly realized, according to Dr. Ketten–with 1,000 or so animals a year stranding themselves in U.S. coastal waters. Statistics show frequent strandings among seals and turtles as well as marine mammals.



Whale, dolphin beached again after mass stranding (2012) [Tasmania]

Updated Sun Nov 4, 2012 1:20pm AEDT

More animals have again stranded themselves on an island off Tasmania’s north-west coast, a day after about 80 whales and dolphins beached themselves there.

Yesterday 60 pilot whales and 20 bottlenose dolphins were found on New Years Island, just a day after 13 other dolphins beached in Quarantine Bay on nearby King Island.

Saturday’s stranding is one of the largest in Tasmanian waters since 2009, when about 200 whales and dolphins beached on King Island.



Port Noarlunga resident calls public meeting on dolphin, fish deaths (2013) [Adelaide, Australia]

  • Lia Harris
  • April 17, 2013 1:09PM

A SOUTHERN resident has called a community meeting next week to demand answers about the mass death of marine life on Adelaide beaches.

It comes after more than 20 dead dolphins and thousands of dead fish have washed up on the state’s beaches since the start of March.

The State Government has begun to publish its findings into the mass marine life deaths on the Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) website.

The latest update said all testing of fish samples so far ruled out infectious fish diseases.



550 Pounds Of Dead Fish Found In Shanghai River, Weeks After Pigs Fiasco (2013) [China]

The Telegraph | Apr. 8, 2013, 8:33 AM

Shanghai’s rivers are in hot water for the second time this year after hundreds of kilos of dead fish were found rotting in one of the mega-city’s waterways.

Just weeks after over 16,000 putrefying pigs were pulled from Shanghai’s Huangpu river, more than 250kg [550 lbs] of dead carp had to be retrieved from a river in the city’s Songjiang district.

China has become notorious for its polluted rivers, largely as a result of decades of unbridled economic growth. Last year a senior official conceded 20 percent of the country’s rivers had become “too toxic for human contact”.

Nor was there a connection between the dead carp and the thousands of rotting pig carcasses pulled from Shanghai’s Huangpu last month, local environmental official Liu Fengqiang said.



More dolphins, fish wash up dead (2013) [Southern Australia]

Justine Northey, 7News Adelaide, Yahoo!7 April 15, 2013, 6:29 pm
The South Australian Government insists it in not downplaying a statewide marine crisis after the discovery of thousands more dead fish and another three dolphin carcasses.
Thousands of dead fish have washed up on South Australian beaches in recent weeks, along with dolphins and some penguins
Most recently, a young dolphin carcass was discovered by a surf school at Southport this morning, while a dead dolphin calf was spotted in the Port River yesterday, being pushed along by its grieving mother.
The National Marine Mammal Stranding Network administered by NOAA Fisheries’ Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program consists of over 120 organizations partnered with NOAA Fisheries Service to investigate marine mammal strandings. These stranding network organizations are established in all coastal states and are authorized through Stranding Agreements from NOAA Fisheries Service’s regional offices. They consist of professionals and volunteers from nonprofit organizations, aquaria, universities, and state and local governments who are trained in stranding response, animal health, and disease. Through a National Coordinator and six regional coordinators, NOAA Fisheries Service oversees, coordinates, participates in, and authorizes the response activities and provides training to personnel.

Funding for Stranding Networks in Peril (2013)

To the deep dismay of stranding response organizations around the U.S., NOAA’s FY2013 budget request did not include funding for the John H. Prescott Grant Program.  Because the Prescott Grant is the primary source of financial support for stranding network activities nationwide, it’s hard to imagine how stranding responses will be conducted without this critical support.

On the bright side, this was not a final funding decision, but rather the Administration’s budget proposal to Congress. It is the responsibility of Congress to make final funding decisions regarding appropriation bills and that process is still underway. Jim Rice and Bruce Mate of the Marine Mammal Institute drafted a letter and gathered 55 co-signatures in support of the reinstitution of Prescott funding, which has been sent to key legislators. You can read the letter here.



Declaration of 2011 Pinniped Unusual Mortality Event in the Northeast {Harbor Seals} (2011) [US]

On November 3, 2011, a marine mammal “Unusual Mortality Event” was declared for Maine, New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts for a high number of seal deaths between September 1, 2011 and the present. As of September 1, 2011, 162 harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) are included in the Unusual Mortality Event, most under six months old.

There have been 11 previous Unusual Mortality Events in the Northeast, 2 have been attributed to infectious diseases and 8 cases have unknown causes.

The investigation into the current Unusual Mortality Event is ongoing and no definitive cause has yet been identified for the increase in harbor seal mortalities in this area over the past two months.

To date [2011], 57 Unusual Mortality Events have been formally declared in U.S. waters since 1991 (including the current Unusual Mortality Event), and 11 of these Unusual Mortality Events have occurred in the Northeast (6 involved cetaceans, 4 were specific to seals only, and 1 involved both taxa).



Sea Lion Strandings Climb, Scientists Stumped (2013) [California, US]

Apr 18, 2013 09:20 AM ET // by Megan Gannon, Live Science

Scientists still don’t know why nearly 1,300 sickly sea lions have beached themselves on the shores of southern California since the beginning of the year. However, they think some weird oceanic phenomenon may be blocking off the sea lion pups’ source of food, scientists reported today (April 17).
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared an “unusual mortality event” last month in light of the spike in strandings. Since the beginning of the year, 1,293 sea lions have washed ashore from San Diego County to Santa Barbara County. That’s more than five times higher than the region’s historical average of 236, averaged from the same period of time (January through April) from 2008 to 2012, said Sarah Wilkin, NOAA’s marine mammal stranding coordinator for California.
The problem is most pronounced in Los Angeles County, where 459 strandings have been reported this year as of April 14. During the same period last year, 60 strandings were reported.

‘Tonnes’ of dead fish found on Swedish lake (2013) [Sweden]

Published: 8 Apr 13 07:57 CET

The Dannemore lake, near Östhammar in the east of Sweden, was discovered to be covered with floating fish this weekend as the ice began to melt. Among the dead fish were pike, perch, roach, and bream.

“It was not a pleasant sight, there were tonnes on fish on the lake,” Timo Hakulinen, who made the discovery, told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

Hakulinen guessed that the fish had suffocated after a particularly long winter had left ice on top of the lake for longer than usual.

“It’s been cold and no water has come. The lake was frozen to the bottom and the fish were trapped,” he added.


Mass Stranding Of Pilot Whales In Northern Scotland (2011) – see entry below for more about this event –

Despite 25 whales failing to survive, the rescuers who took part in the operation led by BDMLR managed to prevent a further 44 whales becoming stuck on the shoreline and guided them back out to sea.

“As a deep diving and sociable species, pilot whales are very vulnerable to human activities, and especially noise pollution. Reportedly, old munitions were being blown up off Cape Wrath, an MOD bombing range that is routinely used for such purposes. However, the way the pathologists will approach this is to collect as many samples from as many dead animals as possible and do a thorough investigation for ALL causes of death.”



This entry was posted by The WDCS IWC Team on Wednesday, July 27. 2011 at 12:10

A Personal Account of the Mass Stranding in Durness

By Elsa Panciroli

With photographs by Charlie Phillips

[ . . . ]

They were sinking into the mud, and it was a distressing couple of hours before a vet could reach them through the dangerous terrain and assess them. All were humanely euthanized. We breathed a sigh of relief that their suffering was over.

Our thoughts have to remain with the survivors. It’s a horrible event, and every death is sad and painful, but of 50-60 animals more than half, 40+ of them made it back to the sea. This is a fantastic success. Everyone worked tirelessly, despite the cold, lack of sleep and difficult conditions. I for one think exhaustion and aching muscles are worth it to rescue such beautiful, special creatures.



Thousands of dead fish wash up along Lake Erie’s NY shoreline (2013) [Lake Erie – NY, US]

By The Associated Press
on April 02, 2013 at 8:24 AM, updated April 02, 2013 at 8:27 AM

Thousands of dead fish are washing up on the Lake Erie shoreline in the Buffalo area

Residents living along a stretch of shoreline in the Angola area of the town of Evans tell YNN cable television news that the fish jump out of the water and die by the thousands along the beaches lining the southern Erie County shoreline. Dead fish are also being found farther north to where the lake empties into the Niagara River at Buffalo.



More fish turning up dead on the Big Eau Pleine (2013) [Wisconsin, US]

Posted: Apr 12, 2013 11:33 PM EDT By Nate Barrett

MOSINEE (WAOW) – More and more fish are turning up dead in a popular central Wisconsin fishing spot.
This is happening at the Big Eau Pleine Reservoir outside Mosinee. All the dead fish are causing quite a smell for neighbors and businesses

“We’ve seen thousands of fish out there dead on top of the ice,” said Hotchkiss. “We had anglers out there. They were ice fishing purposely for the carp and everywhere they would drill a hole, they would bring up dead carp.”

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources first noticed a problem with the reservoir in January.
They say low oxygen levels during the winter caused fish to die.



Oil Spill Impacts on Sea Turtles (2010 – 2013) [Gulf of Mexico, US]

During the six months following the start of the Gulf oil disaster, 1,066 sea turtles were collected in the spill area. Of those, more than 450 showed clear signs of oiling.

These numbers include all sea turtles collected in the oil spill area. While the actual cause of death has yet to be determined for most of the animals, it is clear that a large proportion of the deaths and injuries were related to the oil spill, as the number of animals collected–especially the birds and sea turtles–was far beyond what is usually found in that area.

Unfortunately, the sea turtle species that was hardest hit by the spill was the Kemp’s Ridley, the most endangered sea turtle in the world, and one that can least afford to suffer such losses. Of the more than 600 dead sea turtles, nearly 500 were Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles.

(includes a map of where they were found)



North Carolina, US

On average, a total of 468 sea turtles strand in North Carolina each year. Biologists from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission are responsible for tending to and collecting data from these strandings.

Some studies have suggested that approximately 20-30% of all deceased turtles actually strand and are recovered; the other 70-80% either drift out to sea, sink to the ocean bottom, are eaten by scavengers, or strand on remote shorelines and are never reported.

In North Carolina, sea turtles can strand just about anywhere. They are found along the full 315 miles of beach, as well as along inlets, along the Intracoastal Waterway, on banks and shoals in sounds and bays, and have even been found many miles inland along riverbanks.



UK: Envirionmentalists Sound Alarm After Thousands Of Dead Crabs, Lobsters, Mussels, Fish, Birds And More Wash Up On East Coast (2013) [UK]


The ‘mass mortality’ has been put at an estimated 150,000 velvet swimming crabs, 10,500 edible crabs, 2,000 common lobsters and a staggering 635,000 mussels in just one 10-mile stretch from Barmston to Bridlington along the Holderness Coast – in all around 800,000 individuals.

Cuttlefish bones have been recorded along the length of the East Coast, as well as increased numbers of dead harbour porpoises on Lincolnshire beaches.

The death of hundreds of seabirds, found washed up on beaches from Aberdeenshire to North Yorkshire, has also been blamed on the weather, with over 200 dead or dying puffins recorded on Yorkshire beaches alone between Scarborough and Withernsea.

The RSPB have described it as the worst puffin ‘wreck’ seen for half a century, with around 10 per cent of the puffin population lost at Bempton.

The Natural History Museum Strandings team says over 150 porpoises have washed up along the East Coast this year, with 12 reported on the Lincolnshire coast.



Thousands of dead prawns wash up on beach in Chile (2013) [Chile]

Posted on March 21, 2013
March 21, 2013 CHILE – (includes a photo of massive numbers of dead shrimp on the beach.)

Thousands of dead prawns have washed up on a beach in Chile, sparking an investigation.

Hundreds of dead crabs were also washed ashore in Coronel city, about 530km (330 miles) from the capital, Santiago.
“I’m 69 years old and started fishing when I was nine, but as a fisherman, I never saw a disaster of this magnitude,” Gregorio Ortega told local Radio Bio Bio.
Marisol Ortega, a spokeswoman for the fishermen, said she feared the deaths would affect the livelihood of their community. “The way everything is being destroyed here, come the high season in November, we’re already thinking we won’t have anything to take from the sea,” she said. –BBC



40,000 Dead Crabs Wash Ashore in U.K. (2011) [UK – US – Brazil]

ByAnn Binlot /

CBS News/ January 6, 2011, 4:14 PM

Birds fell from the sky to their deaths in the Ark., La. and Sweden, dead fish are floating around in Md. and Brazil, and most recently, over 40,000 dead devil crabs have washed up along the Kent coast in the U.K.

The media started paying to attention to mass mortalities after a flock of blackbirds fell from the sky in Ark., crashing into homes, cars and each other before dying. Doug Inkley, senior scientist at the National Wildlife Federation, told CBS News that blackbirds don’t have very good night vision and that they were simply frightened.

As for the fish and the crabs, the cause of the fish die-off in Brazil is yet to be determined, but officials in Md. told the Baltimore Sun the sensitive spot fish were most likely killed by cold water. According to the Daily Mail, environmental experts believe lower than average temperatures are to blame for the crab deaths.



2010-2013 Cetacean Unusual Mortality Event in Northern Gulf of Mexico – {Dolphins, Whales} (2013) [US]

Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (as amended), an Unusual Mortality Event (UME) has been declared for dolphins and whales (cetaceans) in the northern Gulf of Mexico (Texas/ Louisiana border through Franklin County, FL) from February 2010 through the present.

These numbers are preliminary and may be subject to change. As of April 14, 2013, the UME involves 945 Cetacean “strandings” in the Northern Gulf of Mexico (5% stranded alive and 95% stranded dead). Of these:



Masses of fish found dead (2013) [Australia]

April 15, 2013, 11:50 a.m.
THOUSANDS of fish have died in the Vasse estuary at Wonnerup.

Other water species such as crabs have also died.

Conservationists Phillip Moore and Beverley Sykes, who were among the first to find the fish on Saturday morning estimate that between 7000 and 8000 fish have died – the major kill being in a lagoon near their property.

“They are mainly black bream and mullet – various other species including Blue Manna crabs also died,” Phillip said.

“By Sunday evening more fish – far worse than what we saw on Saturday morning, had surfaced,” he said.



Thousands of dead fish wash up on beach (2012) [Norway]

2 Jan 2012 19:08

Thousands of dead fish washed up on a beach in Norway on New Year’s Eve leaving experts baffled.

Residents of Kvennes, in the north of the country, were left astonished as around 20 tonnes of dead herring carpeted the beach.

Jens Christian Holst, a researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, said: “I have never seen such large amounts of stranded herring.”


Loggerhead Turtle Deaths a Mystery (1998) [Atlantic Coast, US]

By Jennifer Lenhart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 27, 1998; Page B1

Dead turtles are washing up in record numbers along the Virginia coast and in the Chesapeake Bay. And no one knows why.

“The signs point to it not being a natural death,” said Mark Swingle, a marine biologist and curator of the Virginia Marine Science Museum’s stranding center in Virginia Beach. The center has found 122 dead loggerheads so far this season, and an additional 28 or so have been found by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point.

The reddish-brown reptiles can grow as large as 300 pounds and live as long as 50 years. Most of the dead ones are juveniles 10 to 15 years old, too young to mate. They have been showing up on the shores of Virginia Beach, Hampton, Norfolk and Fisherman’s Island and all around the lower Chesapeake Bay.

“Normally, an animal that’s feeding and otherwise healthy doesn’t just keel over and die,” Swingle said. “If a turtle is diseased, it’s thin and clearly not nutritionally well off, and we’re not seeing that. These turtles aren’t thin.”

In addition, there have been no telltale traces of collisions with boats, such as propeller marks or cracked shells.

“These turtles look fine,” Swingle said. “They don’t have any external signs of trauma.”

*(In all of 1997, the crew at the Virginia Marine Science Museum, which consists of three staff members and 120 volunteers, responded to 115 strandings.)



Massive Die-off of Dolphins in Peru (2012) [Peru]

The Peruvian government has released a report on the mass mortality of at least 900 dolphins along the coast of Peru that states that “natural causes” and “evolutionary forces” were the cause of death.

During February 2012 rumors began circulating that hundreds of dolphins were dying along the northern coast of Peru. But the beaches are remote and no one had actually confirmed the rumors and certainly not made a reconnaissance.

BlueVoice Executive Director Hardy Jones flew to Peru where he joined Dr. Carlos Yaipen Llanos of the marine rescue organization ORCA. In order to verify the number of dolphins stranding on the northern beaches of Peru they traveled north from Chiclayo/San Jose. They counted 615 dead dolphins in 135 kilometers. They thus verified that the die-off that had been rumored was a tragic reality.

• Between March 26th and April 26th, 2012, in a coordinated effort with the Peruvian Ecological Police, ORCA and BlueVoice.org made several expeditions to the “Stranding Zone”, covering up to 135 km of deserted beaches and confirming the largest mass stranding of dolphins ever in South America.



A Deadly Toll: The Gulf Oil Spill and the Unfolding Wildlife Disaster (2011 forward) [US]

A Center for Biological Diversity Report — April 2011

Last year’s BP Deepwater Horizon catastrophe spilled 205.8 million gallons of oil and 225,000 tons of methane into the Gulf of Mexico. Approximately 25 percent of the oil was recovered, leaving more than 154 million gallons of oil at sea. In addition to the oil, nearly 2 million gallons of toxic dispersants were sprayed into the Gulf’s waters. This did not actually reduce the amount of oil left in the ocean, but merely broke it into smaller particles, which may actually make the oil more toxic for some ocean life and ease its entry into the food chain.

A year after the April 20, 2010, explosion that caused the well to leak oil for months, the ultimate toll on people and wildlife is still not fully understood. But one thing is clear: The number of birds, sea turtles, dolphins and other animals sickened or killed and tallied as part of the government’s official count represents a small fraction of the total animals harmed by this disastrous spill.

The toll on wildlife continues to mount. Dead turtles, marine mammals, birds and fish are still washing up on beaches. Dolphins are miscarrying, and pelicans are attempting to nest on beaches polluted with tar balls and subsurface oil. The impacts of previous oil disasters show that wildlife in the Gulf will continue to be affected by this spill for decades. Lingering pollution from a 1969 spill in Massachusetts, for example, is still affecting fiddler crabs. Likewise, oysters and mangroves in Mexico are still affected by pollution from the 1979 Ixtoc spill in the Gulf, and oil remains on Alaskan beaches from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill with continuing impacts on birds and fish.

In total, we found that the oil spill has likely harmed or killed approximately 82,000 birds of 102 species, approximately 6,165 sea turtles, and up to 25,900 marine mammals, including bottlenose dolphins, spinner dolphins, melon-headed whales and sperm whales. The spill also harmed an unknown number of fish — including bluefin tuna and substantial habitat for our nation’s smallest seahorse — and an unknown but likely catastrophic number of crabs, oysters, corals and other sea life. The spill also oiled more than a thousand miles of shoreline, including beaches and marshes, which took a substantial toll on the animals and plants found at the shoreline, including seagrass, beach mice, shorebirds and others.


The price paid by wildlife in the Gulf for the BP oil spill will continue to rise. Although it is the largest to date, the Gulf oil spill was simply the latest in a string of ongoing and inevitable spills produced in the Gulf. More than 320 known spills involving offshore drilling have occurred there since 1964. Spills massively degrade ecosystems and all of the wildlife dependent on those ecosystems in the Gulf. Clean-up efforts only remove a fraction of the persistent oil and gas spilled. The remainder of the oil, including millions of gallons remaining in the Gulf, will continue to poison wildlife for generations. Besides the direct harm to wildlife, the spill impoverishes the people of the Gulf and the nation, who depend on this rich body of water for food, culture, environmental enrichment and recreation.



Another sign of the (heat) times: thousands of dead fish (2012) [US]

7 July 2012 2:56pm, EDT
By Miguel Llanos, NBC News

In lakes and rivers across parched areas of the U.S., heat and lower water levels are reducing oxygen levels — and killing fish populations by the thousands.

At one lake in Delaware, up to 6,000 dead gizzard shad and 600 perch were found floating this week.

In South Carolina, some 500 fish died at Lake Hartwell.

Across South Dakota, fishermen have reported thousands of fish kills in multiple lakes and rivers.

And in Tennessee, a fish kill on Butterfly Lake left a horrid stench in one Knoxville neighborhood.

Some 10,000 bluegills were thought to have died, and city workers were tasked with the cleanup even though the lake is on private property.



Not All Monarchs Make it to Mexico (2002) [Panama City Beach, Florida, US]

What Do Florida Tagging Results Suggest?

October 2002
On October 10, 2002, Ms. Laura Witkiewicz witnessed one of the hazards of migration when visiting Panama City Beach, Florida. Thousands of dead monarchs littered the beach. (an expert quoted in the story conjectured that it was caused by a storm from the week before)

Importantly, of the nearly 12,500 monarchs he has tagged at St. Marks Refuge in ten years, only three have been found in Mexico. This is far, far below the ratios recorded elsewhere. According to Dr. Chip Taylor of Monarch Watch, nearly 1% of all monarchs tagged are found at the sanctuaries in Mexico.



Thousands of Dead Pigs Found Floating in Shanghai River (2013) [China]

Written by Oiwan Lam

A two-day clean-up effort has recovered 3,323 dead pig bodies from the Huangpu River, which cuts through the middle of Shanghai. Local media are reporting that the pigs came from Jiaxing, in Zhejiang province, where over 20,000 pigs have been found dead in villages since the beginning of the year because of swine flu [zh]. While the public is very anxious about the potential pollution caused by the decaying pig carcasses, local authorities quickly asserted that the dead pigs had not polluted the water supply. Shanghai’s water comes from Yangtze River and authorities claim the pigs died of cold weather, not a virus

Liu Junluo (劉軍洛)wondered [zh] why the local authorities did not release the details concerning the dead pigs in advance:

[Responsibility concerning the dead pigs incident] According to Jiaxing Daily, the dead pigs in Huangpu River came from a virus in Jiaxing. In January, 10,078 pigs were found dead in a village. In February 8,325 more were dead. In the past few days, on average 300 pigs were dead everyday. The village has kept digging holes to bury the pigs. So far around 1,200 were found in the river. Had other dead pigs been served at people’s dinner tables? Why doesn’t the government alert people about this news?

Weibo user Changan Xianling (@长安县令) added more background information about the incident:

Many people have raised questions concerning the dead pig incident in Huangpu River. How did the 3,000 pigs make it to Shanghai? Usually, they would have ended up in people’s stomachs. The reason is that not long ago, people who had sold pork from dead pigs were tried and convicted. Last November, a court case in Jiaxing tried 17 people who had sold 77,000 dead pigs for 8.65 million RMB (1.4 million USD). The main perpetrators, Dong, Chen and Yao have received life imprisonment.



Dead Birds On Wasaga Beach, Georgian Bay: Cleanup Of Thousands Of Waterfowl Begins, Botulism Suspected (2011) [Ontario, Canada]

First Posted: 10/23/11 02:51 PM ET


Thousands of dead birds that washed ashore along a stretch of Georgian Bay were to be picked up starting Monday, said a spokesman for Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources.

Initial estimates pegged the number of dead waterfowl as high as 6,000, but Cooper said ministry staff were going to do an updated assessment on Monday.

Bottom-feeding fish ingest toxins that cause botulism and the birds feast on the dead or dying fish. Fish react to the toxin by becoming erratic, making them an easier prey target for a loon or duck that’s looking for something to eat, Cooper said.

The die-offs along a roughly three kilometre stretch on Georgian Bay is the largest Ontario officials have seen in many years. About a decade ago some 25,000 birds died on Lake Erie from eating botulism-laced fish.



Dead butterflies may be ill omen in Mexico (2007)


Deforestation saps the monarchs as well as the only source of water for mountain communities.

August 12, 2007| Stephen Kiehl | Baltimore Sun

EL ROSARIO, MEXICO — The dead butterflies came up to his ankles, an ocean of orange and black that extended as far as he could see.

On a mountaintop in central Mexico, Bill Toone stepped lightly. He had helped save the California condor. He had protected species around the world. But he was not prepared for this. The piles of monarch butterflies — estimates would put the figure at 250 million dead — were so thick that they were composting at the bottom.

(etc. – this article includes a great deal of what may have caused this event)



Special Report: High Number of Dolphin Strandings in Texas

Posted: Jul 17, 2012 6:10 PM by Janine Reyes
Updated: Jul 17, 2012 6:10 PM


A higher than normal number of dolphin deaths is under investigation right now. From November 2011 to March 2012 a total of 123 dolphins washed up along the Texas coastline.

Of the dozens of dolphins, only four were found alive, but later died. Scientists say all of the dolphins shared the same symptoms: including lung infection and discolored teeth. Roughly 40 percent of dolphins washed up along our the shores of Aransas, Calhoun and Kleberg counties.

Heidi Whitehead with the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network says, “From November to March we recovered 123 dolphins, which was in a five month period and typically, that is what we recover in a year’s time.”
There have only been 5 unusual mortality events recorded in Texas in 32 years. The most recent were in 2007 and 2008. Scientists could not find a cause for the increased dolphin deaths for those years. They say that’s because most dolphins found were severely decomposed and that makes it harder to get answers.



Strandings of dolphin, whales and porpoises ‘very unusual’ (2013) [Ireland]

February 8, 2013

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group says the stranding of high numbers of common dolphins and other species, which has become apparent over the past two weeks here, is “very unusual”.

An apparently otherwise healthy dolphin along with two pilot whales have now been washed up at Cuas Croom near Cahirciveen and there have been continuous strandings of dolphins, particularly in Mayo and Donegal. At the end of January at least eight common dolphins have been found dead on the beaches of Achill Island, Co Mayo.



Dead salmon found along silt-choked Elwha River after hatchery release

April 12, 2013

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News


PORT ANGELES — Piles of dead year-old chinook salmon, numbering at least in the hundreds, were found along the Elwha River’s lower banks and mouth after hatchery smolts were released last week.

Sediment from the river clogged the gills of most he examined, said Mike McHenry, a fish biologist and habitat manager for the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe, who saw the dead fish at the river’s mouth and on sandbars Monday and Tuesday.

Staff at the department’s Elwha Channel hatchery released 196,575 juvenile fish, ranging from 4 inches to 8 inches in length April 5, about 3½ miles from the mouth of the river, said Randy Aho, hatchery operations manager for the Fish and Wildlife region that stretches from the Long Beach Peninsula to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

“We feel that these” — the dead fish — “are fish released from our facility,” Aho said.

Silt in the river increased rapidly after the fish were released, according to U.S. Geological Survey data.




A brief list of some mass animal death events that have occurred since 2010 – especially those from 2010 and 2011 –




Earth Day Events – NEW YORK CITY – 2013

April 20 – 22, 2013