Authorities investigate two dead gray whales off Santa Cruz County coast
|© Jodi Frediani|
Two gray whale carcasses washed up in Santa Cruz County this week, prompting Long Marine Lab officials to investigate their deaths.
The whales — one at the northern end of the county and the other at the southern end — were first reported Wednesday, but officials couldn’t conduct necropsies when they were reported because of the tide, said Terri Sigler, marine mammal stranding coordinator for Long Marine Lab.
A necropsy conducted Thursday on a 40-foot adult gray whale that washed ashore near Waddell Beach near Davenport couldn’t determine the cause of death, Sigler said.
The team did say there was no evidence of the animal dying because of a ship strike or entanglement and likely was dead for at least a couple of days, she said.
“Because of the incoming tide, the necropsy was curtailed,” said Sigler, though an abridged version was performed.
The team won’t likely return to conduct a second necropsy on the animal because it’s in a precarious location.
A second gray whale at Pajaro Dunes in South County, a 23-foot yearling, had killer whale teeth marks across its body and was missing its tongue and jaw.
Though officials have yet to conduct a necropsy, the cause of death was likely orcas, based on the whale’s injuries, Sigler said.
“This time of the year, it’s not uncommon for calves and smaller whales to be predated on by killer whales,” she said.
The gray whales are on their northern migration route from Baja California in Mexico to their feeding grounds in the northern waters of Alaska, said Nancy Black, a marine biologist and owner of Monterey Bay Whale Watch.
Black spotted the gray whale carcass floating in the water when she took a tour group out Monday morning. The group watched as a pod of four orcas pulled the carcass down into the water to eat it, Black said.
Black said the whales likely killed the calf between Sunday night and Monday morning.
“I was thinking it was particularly spectacular to know that only four killer whales were able to do this,” she said. “Often times, there’s maybe 10 to 15 killer whales doing this.”
The territory is prime hunting ground for the orcas because of the submarine canyon that bisects the shallow coastal waters along the shore.
“At some point, (the gray whales) have to cross the deep water. The killer whales patrol the canyon, going back and forth along the edge of the canyon,” she said. – Santa Cruz Sentinel.
2.6 MILLION birds killed due to avian flu, ‘state of emergency’ in Minnesota, United States
Minnesota is the second state to declare an emergency due to a fast-spreading bird flu epidemic at poultry farms across the Midwest. The highly contagious H5N2 strain of avian influenza has led to the killing of more than 7.3 million birds in the US.
In Minnesota, H5N2 has been found on 46 farms in 16 counties, affecting more than 2.6 million turkeys and chickens, Reuters reported. No human infections have been reported in this outbreak.
“There’s no reason for anybody in the state of Minnesota to be concerned about their own health,” Governor Mark Dayton (D) said at a press conference on Thursday after declaring the state of emergency.
Nevertheless, state health officials said they were expediting prescriptions for the antiviral drug Tamiflu for farm workers and others who have been in direct contact with infected flocks. That step follows recommendations from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The 140 people in the state who have worked directly with sick birds have been monitored by the Minnesota Department of Health. None have tested positive for bird flu, the department’s spokesman, Michael Schommerm, said.
Minnesota is the nation’s largest turkey producer, and 45 commercial turkey farms and one “backyard flock” of poultry ‒ 151 birds ‒ have been struck by the bird flu thus far, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
On Thursday the bird flu spread from turkeys to chickens, as a farmer in northwestern Minnesota said his egg-laying operation with 300,000 chickens had been infected.
“This is a moving target, and the number of farms affected has continued to increase,” Dayton said. “We don’t know what the ceiling will be.”
If the problem is not addressed quickly, bird flu is capable of destroying an entire flock in less than 48 hours.
Two bird flu strains have been discovered in the United States this year. The H5N2 strain is in Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin. It has also been identified on farms in Ontario, Canada.
The H5N8 strain has been identified in California and also in Idaho, according to US Department of Agriculture data.
Minnesota followed in Wisconsin’s footsteps in declaring a state of emergency. Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) authorized the state’s National Guard to assist authorities responding to the bird flu in three counties. It has been found in six Wisconsin flocks affecting over a million chickens and turkeys, WITI reported.
Wisconsin must act “quickly and efficiently to contain the outbreak and protect domestic poultry,” Walker said when he declared the state of emergency.
In Iowa on Monday, more than 5.3 million hens were scheduled be euthanized at an egg-laying facility after the majority of them were found to be contaminated with the lethal H5N2 strain.
Iowa is home to more than 58 million egg-laying hens, according to the USDA. It produces one-fifth of all eggs consumed in the US.
Authorities have not pinpointed the source of the bird flu, which is believed to have spread from hen to hen via bird droppings. There is a theory it could have originated from wild birds traveling through the Mississippi flyway, a migratory path that stretches from the Mississippi River up to Canada’s Mackenzie River. – RT.
Hundreds of thousands of fish have died in farms along a river in Saraburi Province, Thailand
The case of the farmers raised fish in underwater fish trap in the PA SAK River Kaeng Khoi district area. A. honor mueang saraburi province and prevent a death, many Poles since Mar. 31 ago. พล.อ.Prayut Chan fare. Office of the Prime Minister; Contains commands to the Agency all relevant Department plant. Harbor Department. Department of fisheries, as well as accelerate environmental agencies to solve problems. If you find that is caused by the release of waste water plant will be carried out strictly in accordance with the law. The initial solution was to order a military unit in the area, bringing the dead fish from the water, and to reiterate to departments in the area to investigate the factory’s wastewater treatment system, all that and actually works or not. By waste water emissions reiterated that to natural water sources is considered as environmental crime. All government agencies to seriously enforce laws
Mr. Thinthat Siridaeng Fishing, saraburi province said the case occurred. As a result, farmers have been 177 reported damage to more than 680 deaths fish, underwater fish trap 430400 kg accounted for about 38736000 baht for a preliminary cause fish to die from lack of oxygen.
But what causes lack of oxygen and water. It must be possible to check that may be caused by illicit chemical emissions into the water with the temperature of the air is caused by transient changes of season, often a summer storm. Recently. Who wa, Sara Board area. 3 ladies consist of saraburi industrial and fisheries up to find the exact cause of the dead fish carcasses brought in the PA SAK River and soil water dissolves to chemical monitoring operation, and then brought to the audit results that have come together to find common cause. Expect to know the results in late April.
And to prevent recurring problems that might come up. The province’s fisheries officials announce the fish growers warned on underwater fish trap, install, add oxygen into the water, and wait for the fish to monitor surveillance feed. If you find that there are two swing swing symptoms or have been marooned up to see a lot more fish dying, placed in a container provided with an official fishing district to take to solve the problem immediately. – Thairath. [Translated]
Thousands of starfish strand on beach in Cumbria, UK
|Starfish on the beach. © Gary McKeating|
Thousands of starfish were left stranded on a west Cumbrian beach after a period of exceptionally high tides.
Photographer Gary McKeating made the discovery on Monday night when he headed to Harrington beach to take pictures of the sunset. He was horrified to come across what he estimates were around 2,000 starfish on the sands.
Experts say the high tides, which drop down low, coupled with strong currents resulted in the sea creatures being washed ashore.
Mr McKeating said: “There were a lot of kids down there and they told me to go and look at the starfish.
“They were on a sandbank right in front of the pier. I was very careful where I stood because I didn’t know if they were dead or alive – I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Dr Emily Baxter, marine conservation officer for Cumbria Wildlife Trust, believes the sea creatures would have been dead, as they cannot survive for long out of the water.
“This isn’t as unusual as you might think,” she said. “However, they tend to wash up in the winter when we have big storms. There were some quite big tides on Monday, probably the biggest we’ll get this year, and the strong currents and high tide will have brought them into shore.
“They tend to aggregate in large numbers, especially when there is a feeding source.”
The starfish have suction cups on their feet which they use to grip onto hard items such as rocks and muscle shells. Dr Baxter said they would have struggled to find anything suitable to cling onto to keep them from washing ashore, as they would have been surrounded by sand.
A spokesman for the Lake District Coast Aquarium, in Maryport, which has starfish, said instances like this happened around two to three times a year.
“Nobody really has a definite answer why it happens but there are a few theories,” he said. “One is that it’s due to the stormy weather, which can’t have been the case here as we have had nice weather recently.
“The other is that they all come together for breeding and the tides are really high at the moment and drop down quite low, so they have maybe been caught by the tide retreating lower than it usually does, resulting in them becoming stranded.”
Millions of common starfish live in British seas. About the size of a hand, they are pinky orange when alive but turn a bright orange when dry. – News and Star.
Thousands of dead fish washing up on Ridgebury Lake in New York, United States
For the past six summers, folks who live along Ridgebury Lake have watched the lake get overwhelmed by a choking algae bloom, a side effect of the state’s effort to eradicate northern snakeheads, an effort that killed all the fish in the lake and threw its ecology out of balance.
During the past few weeks, the neighbors have been dealing with a new woe on the lake: thousands of dead fish.
“I was looking at the lake Sunday, and I just said, ‘Oh my God,’” said Donna Prevost, who lives on Post Road, at the east end of the 28-acre lake.
“It was really beyond belief,” said Albert Daula, who lives on Lake View Avenue, on the southeast side of the lake.
Since 2008, when the state Department of Environmental Conservation killed all the fish in the lake in its effort to deal with the highly invasive snakeheads, residents have learned to expect the algae bloom, which chokes the lake when the water warms for the summer and makes it impossible to boat or fish.
The fish that were in the lake, mostly carp, had kept the algae in check. Now, when the algae gets hot, residents said, the lake smells like a cesspool. And as the algae spreads, fish, desperate for air, jump out of the water and die on land.
Wawayanda Supervisor John Razzano got worried when so many dead fish turned up so early in the season.
“If we’re starting this way, I’m concerned about what’s going to happen this summer,” said Razzano, who is also a lakefront resident. He counted 200 dead fish at just one dock last week.
Razzano contacted the DEC. The explanation he got was that the extreme winter, with long-term ice and snow cover, depleted the oxygen supply in many shallow lakes around New York state.
The DEC’s Region 3 fisheries manager promised that the agency will stock the lake with triploid grass carp when the water gets a little warmer.
Each year, residents hope for the best, but patience is running thin while they wait for the DEC-approved triploid grass carp to do their job.
“They (the DEC) created the problem,” said Razzano, pointing out that DEC crews hauled eight tons of dead fish from the lake when they did the 2008 snakehead eradication. “They should stand by us and fix it. If you or I did this, we’d be in jail.” – Record Online.
71,000 birds to be killed due to avian flu in North Dakota, United States
|Bird Flu (CBS News)|
The presence of bird flu has been confirmed in a second poultry flock in North Dakota.
The state Agriculture Department says the H5 virus is in a commercial flock in LaMoure County that includes about 69,000 turkeys and about 2,000 chickens. The operation has been quarantined and the flock will be destroyed.
The state is still waiting on confirmation of whether the virus is the H5N2 strain that has cost Midwestern chicken and turkey producers more than 7 million birds since early March. But the Agriculture Department says whatever strain it is, it is highly contagious.
The H5N2 virus was confirmed at a Dickey County poultry farm earlier this month. The 40,000 turkeys are being destroyed. – KFGO.
Dairy cow develops a taste for eating sheep in Kenya
|A dairy cow bites a merino sheep at Miti Mingi Village in Elementaita, Nakuru County, on April 22, 2015. © Suleiman Mbatiah | Nation media group.|
A family in Miti Mingi Village in Nakuru County is reeling in shock after its cow developed a liking for meat about a week ago.
Mr Charles Mamboleo on Wednesday said he woke up to find the cow feeding on one of his sheep that it had gored to death.
The following day, it fed on another sheep, having given fresh fodder and water in its feeding trough a wide berth.
“After the first incident, we thought the cow was starving, so we increased the supply of fodder and water, but it still continued chasing after sheep,” said Mr Mamboleo.
He expressed fears that his animal could have been bewitched since it had not calved since it was bought.
WATCH: Shock as cow eats sheep at Gilgil.
His wife, Ms Consepta Kerubo, expressed fear that the animal could start feeding on her children.
But area agricultural officer Albert Kabugi dismissed bewitchment claims, saying there was a possibility the cow lacked some nutrients and minerals found in green grass.
Green grass has been scarce in the county due to drought.
“The dry season, which has just ended, has seen most animals lack minerals found in green grass,” he told Nation.co.ke.
He expressed shock at the development, terming it the only such case ever reported in the region.
– Daily Nation.
Coyote fights 2 large dogs in back yard in Pinellas, Florida
|Two-year-old Teddy got the brunt of the fight receiving a two-inch gash on his face. © WTSP|
A St. Petersburg man says his two German shepherds were attacked by a coyote in his back yard leaving one injured.
“It was just a horrible fight you know dogs whimpering and dogs crying,” said Danny Stephen, who says he saw his two German Shepherds right outside his kitchen window in the a brutal fight Wednesday morning with a coyote.
“I can’t even describe the noise. It was just like if a dog could scream, it would be screaming — just an ungodly howl,” Stephen said.
Two-year-old Teddy got the brunt of the fight receiving a two-inch gash on his face and luckily 1½-year-old Kira came out unharmed.
“The female came and went at the back of the coyote and they all went that way,” Stephen explains.
Stephen says he saw the coyote hightail it out the front.
“It jumped back and completely cleared the fence. I just saw the paws and it went pad oomph.”
WATCH: Coyote fights dogs in Pinellas back yard.
Another thing that scares Stephen about this coyote attack is that his back yard is just feet away from the Pinellas Trail where people walk their dogs every day.
“They like to run along trails, so a common area is large power lines. The Pinellas Trail is another great example where they tend to show up so anywhere there’s an open environment where there’s an edge to it so they can quickly tuck in,” said Dusty Showers, who is an animal removal expert.
FWC spoke to Stephen and determined there was a gate left open that allowed the coyote access to his yard.
“Canines will defend their space from a perceived threat. So there was no real nuisance behavior here it was just mother nature at work,” said Gary Morse with FWC.
But for Stephen who loves his dogs like family says he would do, “anything to protect them. I hate to say it, but if it comes down to the dogs or the coyote — the coyote’s got to go.” – WTSP.
Elephant kills two villagers in Odisha, India
Two villagers were trampled to death by a tusker in a forest near Nuakheta village here on Thursday morning.
They along with a few locals had gone to collect mangoes which fell on the ground of the forest after Wednesday night’s storm when the incident occurred. While others managed to escape, the two were attacked by the elephant. They have been identified as Dillip Pradhan (35) and Kadali Maharana (34).
Reports stated that a herd of elephants is roaming near Nuapkheta village for the last two months. Though the villagers have appealed to the officials of the Angul Forest Division several times to drive away the pachyderms, their pleas elicited no response.
Blaming the forest authorities’ negligence for the death of two villagers, irate locals ransacked Forest Beat House, damaged the watch tower and the check gate besides some vehicles. They also demanded immediate solar fencing around their village. Regional Chief Conservator of Forest Anup Nayak said steps would be taken for solar fencing of the village. Despite several attempts, the Divisional Forest Officer of Angul could not be contacted. – The New Indian Express.
Three-year-old girl mauled by family dog in Neyland, Wales
|A three-year-old girl was airlifted to hospital after being attacked by an Alaskan Malamute, the breed pictured above. © Creative Commons|
The dog was an Alaskan Malamute, the same breed believed to have been responsible for the death of a six-day-old baby in 2014
A three-year-old girl was airlifted to hospital after being attacked by an Alaskan Malamute, the breed pictured above
A three-year-old girl mauled by a family dog would have suffered “far more serious injuries” if it wasn’t for the quick thinking actions of her family, police have revealed.
The young girl suffered head injuries when she was attacked “completely out of the blue” by the pet in Neyland, near Milford Haven, on Thursday,
She was airlifted to Morriston hospital in Swansea and has since been treated for facial injuries.
The breed of the family dog responsible for the attack was an eight year old Siberian Huskey cross Alaskan Malamute.
The breed is the same as that believed to have been responsible for the death of a six-day old baby, Eliza-Mae Mullane, at a house in Pontyberem in February 2014.
Eliza-Mae was killed when she was grabbed from her pram by her family’s pet dog, the inquest into her death heard earlier this year.
The inquest was told the family had two dogs – a husky-like Alaskan Malamute called Misha and a terrier called Roxy.
The hearing was not told which dog had carried out the attack.
A Dyfed-Powys Police spokeswoman said: “At 2.45pm on Thursday, April 23, Dyfed Powys Police officers were called to an address in Neyland, Milford Haven, to an incident whereby a family dog had attacked a three-year-old girl.
“She sustained head injuries and was conveyed to Morriston Hospital by Air Ambulance.
“Her condition is not life threatening.
“Following the police response to the incident, the dog was safely contained and taken to a local vet.
“In accordance with the wishes of the family the dog was destroyed.”
The spokesman added: “The incident occurred inside the family home and was by all accounts an attack that came completely out of the blue.
“The dog had not been left unsupervised with the little girl and if it had not been for the fast actions of a family member, her injuries could have been far more serious.
“Police have thoroughly looked into this matter and are satisfied that this was a very unfortunate incident that no one could have foreseen.
“There will be no further investigation.
“The little girl is recovering well after being treated at Morriston Hospital for facial injuries.”
Alaskan Malamutes are not listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
Terry Bogue, Wales’ leading breeder of Alaskan Malamutes, defended the breed.
The owner of Carmarthenshire-based Celticwolf Alaskam Malamutes, where he trains dogs, and owns nine of his own, said: “Alaskan Malamutes are bred for their well balanced temperament, historically they are actually known for their babysitting qualities. They are a docile breed.”
He added: “I understand that the incident (with Eliza-Mae Mullane) last year also involved a cross breed.
“When crossed, or bred by unregistered breeders, you don’t know what you are getting, you get an animal which has been bred for it’s looks and not its characteristics.
“But when bred, trained and cared for properly, they are not dangerous animals.” – Western Mail.
Pilgrim killed by wild boar in Kerala, India
|Wild Boar. © DJS Photography|
65-year-old pilgrim, Govinda Swami from Peramballoor in Tamil Nadu, was killed in an attack by a wild boar at Pandithavalam at the Sabarimala Sannidhanam on Friday.
Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sanghom stretcher service captain Thanchavur Damodaran said the pilgrim had gone to Pandithavalam for tea around 5 a.m. when he was fatally attacked by the animal.
Volunteers rushed him to the Sannidhanam Government Hospital, where he died.
The body was later shifted to the General Hospital in Pathanamthitta for post-mortem examination.
Govinda Swami reached Sabarimala on Thursday with a 50-member group from Peramballoor, sources said. – The Hindu.
Drought spurs rodent problems across California
The four year-old drought in California is causing an influx of rats and mice to seek sustenance inside homes and around public water sources during their spring breeding season, according to reports.
With less available water outdoors, rodents are using structural vulnerabilities and accessible lawn foliage to gain access inside California homes that provide the necessary water sources, CBS 13 in Sacramento reported.
“It’s a very busy time especially with the drought situation,” Kevin Carpenter of Good Earth Pest Control told CBS 13 of rodent breeding season.
Seeking at least an ounce of water a day, rodents target cracks or openings only as large as the width of a human thumb.
Carpenter said low-hanging trees that allow rodents to reach roofs are also a point of accessibility.
“Those rodents will climb right up. They’re excellent climbers and they will climb right up the trees and drop down on the roof,” he said.
Outside of sealing foundation openings, homeowners can prevent rodent infestation by eliminating nearby outdoor sources of water, such as pet water bowls, he added.
State wildlife officials said avoiding rodent poison will also help birds like owls and hawks maintain a healthy diet of rats and mice.
WATCH: California drought drawing rodens into homes during breeding season.
“These wildlife are right around us and you might not notice them but they’re actually there. And they’re helping control rodent populations and as long as you’re able to protect them, they will do that for you,” Stella McMillan told CBS 13.
In the San Francisco area, there have been reports of more rats out in public than usual, as the area’s water shortage has drawn them in search of nourishment.
“There’s no water source for them right now so they’re going outside to get it,” Tina O’Keefe, of Dirty Rats Rodent Removal, told the Bay Area’s NBC affiliate. “They eat plants. They eat meat. They’re going to the dog park because there are water bowls. They’re going to horse stables because there’s water.”
Areas like Heron Head Park, just south of San Francisco, have attracted major infestations thanks to abnormal weather patterns.
“This has not happened before,” Renee Dunn Martin, a spokeswoman for the Port of San Francisco, told the San Francisco Chronicle. Heron Head Park is owned by the port system.
“It’s an open space, and a natural habitat for a lot of creatures, but regarding the rats, we are definitely on top of that issue and doing our best to address it,” Dunn Martin added. – RT.