Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mass Animal Deaths Gets Its Own Wikipedia Page

2010–2011 midwinter animal mass death events

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2010 - 2011 midwinter animal mass death events(avian mass deaths and events involving marine animals), referred to in the media as the aflockalypse has gained considerable wide publicity worldwide, provoking comparisons to a cataclysmic event such as the apocalypse. Media attention was particularly high for this period despite the common nature of the incidents.[1] [2] Aflockalypse is a portmanteau of the words "flock" and "apocalypse".
The term aflockalypse was coined by Washington Post writer Melissa Bell, in an article covering the deaths being reported across the United States and Europe in early January, 2011.[3] It also appeared as one of the key jokes in a Saturday Night Live Weekend Update sketch on January 8, 2011.



[edit]December 2010

  • On December 30th, three young whooping cranes were found dead in Kentucky, USA. The birds were first seen flying low and crashing into objects in the streets. Later, "a couple hundred" gracklescowbirds,starlings and red-winged blackbirds died in close proximity to one other.[4] There has been no official explanation for the deaths, but toxins and diseases have been excluded. After New Year's eve there have been two similar incidents in Kentucky. [5]
  • On New Year's Eve more than 3000 dead red-winged blackbirds and starlings were found from Beebe, Arkansas, USA. The incidence has been attributed to collisions and stress caused by fireworks[6]

[edit]January 2011

  • Between the 28th of December and January 3rd, 100 tons of dead fish were reported to be washing ashore on the Brazilian coast.[7]
  • On January 3rd, more than 500 starlings, red-winged blackbirds and sparrows fell dead in LabarreLouisiana, USA.[8]
  • Also on the 3rd an estimated 2 million dead fish were found floating in the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, USA.[9]
  • On January 4th-5th "a large number of birds" were found dead in Falköping, Sweden. Autopsies on five birds were completed by the Swedish National Veterinary Institute. Their findings were no illness, no external signs of damage or blows of any kind and no infection. However, the birds showed signs of internal bleeding, which ultimately killed them.[10].
  • On January 5th, "hundreds" of dead turtle doves were found at Faenza, Italy.[11][12] According to Italian news agencies, a huge number of the birds were found to have blue stains on their beaks that could be caused by paint or hypoxia.[13]
  • On January 6th, 40000 dead devil crabs along with dead starfishlobsterssponges and anemones were reported washed up along the Kent coast in the U.K.[14][15] These deaths are suspected to be the result of hypothermia in the UK's coldest December in 120 years.[16]
  • Over the weekend of January 8th-9th, "over a hundred" dead birds were found clustered together on a California Highway, while "thousands of dead gizzard shad" (a species of fish) turned up in the harbors of Chicago, IL.[17].[18]


Some deaths of the birds has been attributed to fireworks and stress during the New Year's eve celebration, while there is still no explanation for occasions where the use of fireworks is not implied. Possible explanations for the incidents include stress, poisoning, parasite infestations, heavy fog and power lines[19], temperature[20]solar and geomagnetic phenomena.[citation needed]
According to scientists, massive die offs of animals are not unusual in nature and happen for a variety of reasons including bad weather, disease outbreaks and poisonings,[21] with pollution and climate changeadding to the stresses on wildlife.[22] The U.S. Geological Service's website listed about 90 mass deaths of birds and other wildlife from June through December 12.[23] E.g. Louisiana's State Wildlife Veterinarian Jim LaCour has stated that there have been 16 similar mass blackbird deaths in the past 30 years.[24].
On the other hand, according to Italy's WWF president Giorgio Tramonti, similar mass death events such as these have never happened before the year 2010.[25]

[edit]See also


  1. ^ Why the Aflockalypse Is Business As Usual For Biodiversity—And Why That's Not Good, BRYAN WALSH
  2. ^ ‘Aflockalypse’ now: Hundreds of turtle doves die in Italy, Lesley Ciarula Taylor, Toronto Star
  3. ^ Dead birds, dead fish, dead crabs turn up all over the world: Signs of the Aflockalypse?, Melissa Bell, Washington Post, January 5, 2011 with later updates
  4. ^
  5. ^ http://www.exam
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  9. ^;lst;1
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  12. ^ "Birds Dying In Italy: Thousands Of Turtle Doves Fall Dead From Sky"The Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
  13. ^ "Dead Birds Fall From Sky In Italy: Mass Animal Death Mystery Solved?"The Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
  14. ^
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  21. ^ "Birds Falling From the Sky Not Unusual". 6 January 2011.
  22. ^ "SCIENCE NEWS Mass bird deaths rare, not apocalyptic: experts". January 6, 2011.
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^

[edit]External links

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wonder just how many people are aware that the word apocalypse has no relation to the end of the world, as it simply means 'to raise the veil' or 'to reveal'...