01.07.2011 02:25 PM

Global view of unexplained animal deaths

I don’t know about you, but I think this story is getting quite unpleasant. Do you agree? Anyone have theories about what is going on?


  1. bigcitylib says:

    I would guess that its a situation where such things occur all the time but now that the first stories have been reported in US tabloids there has been a snow ball effect. Hope so, anyway.

  2. bigcitylib says:

    Mind you, I just saw a bunch of people shambling down Don
    Mills saying “Brains! Brains!” over and over again. Something up
    there, I think.

  3. Namesake says:

    Well, when you go through them one by one, you see they’re not all from natural or environmental causes: e.g., someone (I’d bet fisherman) was chopping up pelicans on the Carolina Coast.

    And the ones off New Zealand are about fish succumbing to oxygen-deprived waters due to an unusual La Nina weather pattern and fish-eating birds starving to death because of that.

    But I can’t help wonder if some of the fish deaths on both sides of the Atlantic aren’t due to the massive amounts of oil from the months long BP spill that just magically seemed to go out of sight and mind.

    Don’t know what the deal is with the US birds, tho’: that may be a pesticide type issue, as with DDT years ago: whether its something the crops are being with, or malathion to spray the bugs directly, or maybe even the genetically engineered crops themselves which the bugs eat & get into their system & stays there when they breed, & the birds eat them… etc.

    I’m just spitballin’, obviously. Anybody out there study biology & ecology etc.? Bueller?

  4. Steven says:

    Delayed fallout from Iceland’s volcanic eruptions last year?

  5. Doug says:

    This is not enough data to draw a conclusion from. We need to know what the baseline numbers for mass animal deaths are. I note that none of the news reports I’ve seen quote any biologists or ecologists referring to the phenomenon as “unprecedented” or “surprising.” I’d imagine it is just greater media interest in the events causing more of them to be reported. When it comes to science and technology news I pretty much only trust “The Economist” as a mainstream information source because it is the only newspaper that achieves consistent relative accuracy in areas where I actually know something. Most others discredit themselves when I know something about what they’re talking about, so I assume the same holds true when I don’t know something about it.

  6. Paul R Martin says:

    If I was a conspiracy addict, I would theorize that it is a nefarious plot by Greenpeace to kill off birds and fish in order to increase donations. A much more likely conclusion is that it is a series of random events that have had greater publicity than normal because of the Internet.

  7. Doug says:

    The US government has data going back to 1995 on mass animal deaths. Unless it’s one heck of a slow apocalypse, I don’t think the recent incidents are much cause for alarm.


    • Derek Pearce says:

      I’m a bit shocked the record only goes back to 1995. Shouldn’t we have been keeping better track of this stuff for longer?

  8. hugger says:

    And when the rowed their oars, the fish were very troublesome and impeded their progress

  9. Darren K says:

    If nothing else can’t we blame “The Reformatories”?

    It’s gotta be them and the Republicans !

  10. allegra fortissima says:

    His Royal Highness explains it well, actually, very well:


  11. Dan Gardner says:

    The alarm is raised, so we look more and report more; incidents that would not have been noticed and reported are; concern rises, so we look more and report more. Repeat. End result: mass collective illusion. There’s lots more about this phenomenon in a book called “Risk,” by someone or other.

  12. Dan Gardner says:

    Not to say other explanations are impossible. But Occam’s razor and all….

  13. Tceh says:

    This freaks me out more. Imagine waking up and having a foot missing then it is discovered in the Salish Sea. Yikes


  14. hugger says:

    A bit on the plight of the humble bumble bee;

    “Recent years have seen a steep and disturbing global decline in bee populations — some bee species are now extinct and others are at just 4% of their previous numbers. Scientists have been scrambling for answers. Some studies claim the decline may be due to a combination of factors including disease, habitat loss and toxic chemicals. But leading independent research has produced strong evidence blaming neonicotinoid pesticides. This has led to beekeepers and scientists in France, Italy, Slovenia and even Germany, where the main manufacturer Bayer is based, already pushing successfully for bans of one of these bee killers. Meanwhile, Bayer continues to export its poison across the world. “

  15. My theory for North America: The migratory birds were in the oil slick Gulf of Mexico. Later they flew north and died. The fish and manatees died because they came into contact with the same oil that flowed via the current from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean.

  16. fritz says:

    BCL had it right IMHO.
    These bird/fish/whatever kills happen all the time. I expect many each day all over the world; but usually in third world countries so they don’t get reported much.
    The R-w Blackbird kill happened to be picked up by the cable news nets off the web on a slow news day, and got put in their news loop because it was unusual but mostly because it had good accompanying video. Someone noted a few other unrelated kills and we have a typical cable news overkill of a small local story into a giant conspiracy by who knows who to do who knows what.

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