Saturday, April 11, 2015

MONUMENTAL WEATHER ANOMALIES: "The Blob" - Massive Patch Of Warm Water In The Pacific Ocean, Off The U.S. West Coast, Might Be To Blame For California Drought And ERRATIC U.S. Weather; "The Blob" Measures About 1,000 MILES In Diameter And 300 FEET DEEP!



April 11, 2015 - PACIFIC OCEAN
- Coined "the blob,” a massive patch of warm water off the US West Coast is contributing to warmer-than-average drought conditions in states like California, in addition to lower temperatures on the US East Coast, according to two new reports.

The blob -- measuring about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) in diameter and 300 feet (91 meters) deep -- is currently positioned against the West Coast. It is about 2 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 4 degrees Celsius) above normal average temperature. Climate scientist Nick Bond was first to call the warm weather anomaly "the blob" nearly a year ago.

"In the fall of 2013 and early 2014 we started to notice a big, almost circular mass of water that just didn't cool off as much as it usually did, so by spring of 2014 it was warmer than we had ever seen it for that time of year," said Nick Bond of the University of Washington-based Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, a joint research center of the school and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Bond's new study, which is set to appear in Geophysical Research Letters, found that the blob formed due to a lasting high-pressure ridge that maintained heat levels in the water rather than the usual low-pressure system that helps cool the ocean. The air continued inland, delivering high temperatures and contributing to deeper drought conditions in California, Oregon and Washington.




The warmer temperatures will continue throughout 2015, according to the study, which was co-authored by Meghan Cronin and Nate Mantua of the NOAA, and Howard Freeland of Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

The blob is also causing marine life to appear in unusual places, as warm water with less nutrients is disrupting ecosystems and food supply.

The warm patch also affects the US East Coast, according to the other study, carried out by Dennis Hartmann, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

He found that the warm water in the Pacific also caused cold, wet air in central and eastern areas of the US, leading to more snowfall and colder temperatures in the winter of 2013-2014. The pattern is known as the "North Pacific Mode."

"Lately this mode seems to have emerged as second to the El Niño Southern Oscillation in terms of driving the long-term variability, especially over North America," Hartmann said, according to Science Daily.

The cold winter on the East Coast in 2014-2015 can also be attributed to the high-pressure system back on the West Coast, Hartmann has argued.

"It's an interesting question if that's just natural variability happening or if there's something changing about how the Pacific Ocean decadal variability behaves," Hartmann said. "I don't think we know the answer. Maybe it will go away quickly and we won't talk about it anymore, but if it persists for a third year, then we'll know something really unusual is going on."


Reuters / Robert Galbraith


Bond told Science Daily that climate change was not likely the cause of the blob, though the weather patterns it produced do foreshadow what global warming has in store.

"This is a taste of what the ocean will be like in future decades," Bond said. "It wasn't caused by global warming, but its producing conditions that we think are going to be more common with global warming."

California is entering its fourth year of record drought. Governor Jerry Brown introduced a mandatory water reduction plan last week. There are fears California may only have 12 months’ worth of water left, as snowpack measurements for the year are set to hit record lows. - RT.



INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Plane Crash Near Challis, Idaho - Four Men Killed, Including The Pilot!

A model of the Cessna T210M

April 11, 2015 - IDAHO, UNITED STATES
- Three Teton Valley residents are dead after a plane crash near Challis, Idaho. The three have been identified by family friends as A.J. Linnell, Andy Tyson and Russell “Rusty” Cheney. A fourth person, the pilot, also died. His name has not been released.

According to the Custer County Sheriff's office, the men had flown to the Diamond D Ranch about 30 minutes away from Challis to assess the site for a possible solar or wind power installation. Tyson was the founder of Creative Energies, which Linnell and Cheney were employees of.

They landed successfully the morning of Friday, April 10 and spent a couple of hours evaluating the site. The plane took off around 1 p.m. and the aircraft’s emergency locator transmitter activated shortly after.

The Custer County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the accident at 4:25 p.m. Sheriff Stuart Lumpkin then activated Custer County Search and Rescue. With light fading, SAR decided to wait until the next morning to deploy to the crash site. They had received a report from caretakers at the ranch that everyone on board was deceased and held off the recovery effort as not to endanger SAR personnel.

The sheriff’s office identified the aircraft as a Cessna T210M owned by John H. Short of Park City, Utah.

The cause of the crash has not been released. An investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board’s Seattle office was en route to the crash site as of 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

Family and friends of Andy Tyson and AJ Linnell are encouraged to contact Jaime Musnicki for help in arranging transportation to Teton Valley from nearby airports and for lodging in the area. She can be reached at 307-699-2049 or at jmusnicki@gmail.com. Family and friends of Russell Cheney can contact Linsey Hayes at 208-709-7964 or at linseyahayes@yahoo.com

Update April 11. 1:20 PM
There will be a community gathering and candlelight vigil in remembrance of Linnell, Tyson and Cheney tomorrow evening 6 p.m., Sunday, April 12 at the Wildwood Room in Victor. - Teton Valley News.


PARADIGM SHIFT: The Age Of Obama - President Obama And Raul Castro In First Sit-Down Between U.S. And Cuban Leaders In More Than 50 Years; Shake Hands During Historic Encounter!

U.S. President Barack Obama smiles during a meeting with Cuba's President Raul Castro, who listens to a translator, during the first plenary session
of the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama April 11, 2015 (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

April 11, 2015 - PANAMA
- Presidents from the US and Cuba have historically sat down at a negotiating table for the first time in more than 50 years. Barack Obama met with his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro to discuss relations between the two countries.

The meeting has been confirmed by the White House press service.

"We are now in a position to move on a path toward the future," Obama told Castro at the meeting. "Over time it is possible for us to turn the page and develop a new relationship between our two countries."





"We are willing to discuss everything but we need to be patient, very patient," Castro replied.

The US President has thanked Castro for the “spirit of openness” during the remarkable meeting that followed the historic handshake between the two leaders, AFP reported on Saturday.

The meeting took place as both nations attended the Summit of the America’s, which is being held in Panama City.


WATCH: Obama - Days of U.S. "meddling" in Latin American politics are past.




Over the past 50 or so years, the relations between the leaders of the United States and Cuba have been particularly strained, as after a socialist revolution in the 1950s Havana had to face an American embargo. It was only last year that the two countries announced that would be working to improve the relationship.

Earlier in the day, US President Barack Obama said "the fact that President Castro and I are both sitting here today marks a historic occasion," reminding that it was the first time the Cuban leader is attending the summit. - RT.



GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Two-Story House-Sized Boulder Falls On And Blocks Ohio Highway!


April 11, 2015 - OHIO, UNITED STATES
- Transportation officials say crews are working to clear a southern Ohio highway after a boulder the size of a two-story house fell onto the road overnight.

Kathleen Fuller with the Ohio Department of Transportation says the rock fell around 2:30 a.m. Friday onto the westbound lane of U.S. 52 near Coal Grove, across the Ohio River from Ashland, Kentucky. The boulder's estimated to be about 1,500 tons.

Officials say the area is susceptible to falling rock, as cliffs border the north side of the highway.









The highway's westbound lanes will remain closed through the weekend. Drivers on Interstate 64 in Huntington, West Virginia are being detoured to US 23.

Officials say no vehicles were struck by the boulder. One pickup truck collided with it, but the driver wasn't seriously hurt.


WATCH: Giant Boulder Closes Roadway In Southern Ohio.




- NBC4i.


INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Plane Crash In Lake Champlain, Quebec, Canada - Two Men Aboard Escaped Injury!

Two people walked across the ice and made it to Milton shore after their small plane went down on the ice of Lake Champlain near Savage Island on Saturday,
April 11, 2015. The ripples in the photo are from heat shimmer rising from the ice.
(Photo: GLENN RUSSELL/FREE PRESS)

April 11, 2015 - QUEBEC, CANADA
- Two men who were practicing landing and taking off from the ice on Lake Champlain escaped injury Saturday afternoon when their small aircraft began to sink through the surface between Milton and South Hero, a Vermont aeronautics official said.

The Milton fire chief called the men's escape from a dangerous situation "very, very lucky."

The plane, a four-seat Cessna 172 based at Burlington International Airport, came to rest about three-quarters of a mile offshore from the Department of Fish and Wildlife's Van Everest fishing access in Milton. The men walked across the melting ice to solid ground, where they were met by rescue crews, Fire Chief Don Turner said.

Both men emerged from the landing chilled but otherwise unscathed.

"They're very wet, very cold, but they appear to be fine," Turner said.

"They are very, very lucky guys today," Turner continued. "That ice is very, very dangerous. It is something I dread as a fire chief to put people on to go rescue somebody, so I was very gratified when I got here that they were already nearing shore."

Turner said he has seen nothing like Saturday's incident during his 32 years with the Milton Fire Department.




The incident was reported to emergency authorities at about 2:45 p.m., initially in the vicinity of Sand Bar State Park off U.S. 2 between Milton and South Hero. Subsequent dispatches redirected rescue crews to the Van Everest access along Everest Road in Milton.

Responding police, fire and rescue units, their lights flashing, filled the access's parking lot several minutes after the incident. The pilot and passenger were inside an ambulance, which later departed for the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington.

The men were unavailable for comment.

The plane was barely visible through heat waves off shore but could be seen clearly through long camera lenses and binoculars. And the plane, with 30 gallons of fuel aboard, was sinking, Fire Chief Turner said.

Vermont Emergency Management, the plane's owner and the insurance company were making plans Saturday afternoon how to remove the aircraft from the weakening ice. Turner said that the plane clearly was sinking.

Lake Champlain's ice thins considerably this time of year, and the state warned all anglers last month to remove fishing shanties before the ice breaks up.


Milton Fire Chief Don Turner, right, responds to the Department of Fish and Wildlife's Van Everest fishing access in Milton after a plane landed on the ice on
Lake Champlain on Saturday afternoon. Turner said two men aboard the plane were able to walk about three-quarters of a mile across
the ice to shore and were cold and wet but uninjured. (Photo: ADAM SILVERMAN/FREE PRESS)

Emergency crews fill the Department of Fish and Wildlife's Van Everest fishing access in Milton after a plane landed on the ice on Lake Champlain on Saturday
afternoon. The two people aboard were able to walk about three-quarters of a mile from the plane to shore and were reported to be uninjured.
 (Photo: ADAM SILVERMAN/FREE PRESS)



It's unclear whether the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident.

"If there are significant injuries or substantial damage to the aircraft, we would consider that an accident and would investigate," said Peter Knudson, a spokesman with the transportation safety board. "It could be that the aircraft is just wet. It may take time to determine that." - Burlington Free Press.



EXTREME WEATHER: The Latest Reports Of Wildfires Across The Globe - Air Corps Called In As Wildfires Rage In Killarney National Park, Ireland; More Than 500 Hectares Of Protected Areas Destroyed By Wildfires In Costa Rica; Wildfires Continue Near Lake George, Minnesota; Firefighters Tackling Fires Across The Highlands In Scotland; Arizona's Risk Of Significant Wildfires Increasing!

April 11, 2015 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports on wildfires across the globe.


Air Corps called in as wildfires rage in Killarney National Park, Ireland


An Air Corps helicopter last night assisted firemen in extinguishing a major fire in Killarney National Park, Co Kerry.


The helicopter was tasked to water-bomb a gorse fire threatening thousands of acres in the park, one of Ireland’s prime tourist attractions and home to a wide range of animal and plant life.

The helicopter was using a 1,000-litre ‘’bambi bucket’’ which was being continually refilled with water from the lakes, then dropped from the air on the fire.

The blaze, fanned by a lively breeze, was believed to be one of the largest to ever take hold inside the 26,000-acre park and was being battled by around 20 firemen from Killarney, Kenmare and Castleisland.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service advised the public to stay away from the Old Kenmare Road area of Killarney National Park which is part of the Kerry Way walking route.

“This is both for their own safety and also to ensure they do not impede the work of the emergency services,” said a spokesman.

The blaze was clearly visible from the road on the way to Ladies’ View and there were concerns at one stage it would cross the public road and threaten houses in the Black Valley area.

Also yesterday, units of Dublin fire brigade from Tallaght, Rathfarnham and Dun Laoghaire brought a fire at Kilakee, in the Dublin mountains, under control.

Kerry Fire and Rescue Service remained extremely busy throughout the day and last night.

Between 2.45pm on Thursday until yesterday, units responded to 23 calls to 17 incidents in 14 locations in the county. Of these incidents, 14 were wild land fires.

Yesterday, eight fire brigade units of the 10 in the county were committed to locations in Sneem, Kells, Portmagee, Dingle, Inch and the Derrycunnihy area of Killarney National Park.

The fire and rescue service renewed an appeal to land and commonage rights owners to exercise extreme caution with fire and never to engage in burning without notifying its regional control centre in advance.




“Human lives are being put at unintended risk,” said a fire service spokesman.

“The weather can play a major and uncontrollable role with wild land fire spread. Family homes are at risk today in several of the above-mentioned areas,” he said.


Kerry Irish Farmers’ Association chairman Sean Brosnan condemned the out-of-control, illegal fires.

“As the fires are illegal, people (who set them) will not notify the fire brigade. They start the fires in the late evening and that’s not helpful,” he said.

The ban on the burning of vegetation runs from March to the end August, but Mr McCarthy said the IFA was seeking to have the season extended to April 15. February was often very wet and unsuitable for burning, he added.

Gardaí in Killarney, meanwhile, are continuing to investigate the series of fires this week.

Fires reached the boundary fences of some homes in the Mangerton area and bordering the national park, while a number of walkers were escorted to safety on Wednesday.

Up to six fires were raging in the area at the same time, damaging upwards of 100 acres.

Exhausted crew battle raging gorse fire
Thirty-five exhausted firemen brought a raging gorse fire under control in Killarney National Park last night, after battling in tough terrain for much of the day.

The fire, in the mountains close to the Ladies’ View tourist landmark, was one of the biggest seen in many years in the 26,000-acre national park and came perilously close to native oakwoods.

There were unconfirmed reports that a section of the centuries-old oakwoods —some of the last remaining in Ireland —were damaged.

Killarney Fire Brigade station officer Mark Brady said the resources of the Kerry fire and rescue service had been fully stretched as they dealt with fires in several parts of the county.

“We’ve kept going with gorse fires almost non-stop since Wednesday. The firemen are working in very difficult and sometimes quite inaccessible conditions. It’s been flat out,’’ he added.

The fire in the Ladies’ View/Derrycunnihy area, between Killarney and Kenmare, got out of control in dry, windy conditions, at mid-day, and fire brigades from Killarney, Kenmare, and other Kerry stations rushed to the scene.

An Air Corps AW139 helicopter, from Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel, Co Dublin, was called to assist.

Using a “bambi” bucket, the helicopter scooped water from the nearby Upper Lake, and doused the fire from the air.



People were advised to stay away from the Old Kenmare Road between Kenmare and Killarney, which is part of the Kerry Way walking route.

The bucket had a 1,000-litre capacity and fire officers said the helicopter played a significant role in fighting the fire. Others involved included National Parks and Wildlife Service staff and Kerry Airport fire personnel.


Rain, which begin to fall at around 7.30pm, was also welcomed by firemen as an aid in putting out the fire.

Tourists and locals watched the blaze from the roadside viewing area at Ladies’ View, with the work of the helicopter adding to the spectacle.

Large sections of the mountain _ seen by hundreds of thousands of visitors on the Ring of Kerry _ have been damaged and blackened in recent, illegally-set fires.

There were times during the week when six, or seven fires were blazing in the same area of mountain, as happened on Mangerton, outside Killarney, on Wednesday. The fires spread over several kilometres.

At one stage yesterday, eight of Kerry’s fire brigade units were fighting gorse fires. - Irish Examiner.



More than 500 hectares of protected areas destroyed by wildfires this year in Costa Rica

The National Commission on Wildfires reported a total of 139 wildfires across Costa Rica in 2014; 88 of them occurred within protected areas.  (Courtesy of Bomberos Forestales CR)
Wildfires during the past week have consumed nearly 300 hectares within protected areas, bringing the total so far this year to some 530 hectares in 28 fires, the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) said Wednesday.

That’s about on par with last year in terms of the number of hectares burned. But the figure will grow soon as the toll does not take into account hectares currently being affected by four fires in the provinces of Guanacaste, Alajuela, and Puntarenas, said Luis Diego Román, coordinator of SINAC’s National Commission on Wildfires.

Román said the most serious fire was in Guanacaste’s Diriá National Park. The fire began Monday and has destroyed over 200 hectares.

“The situation is worrisome because the fire is located in a very dry and difficult-to-access area,” Román said.

Staff from the Environment Ministry and the Firefighters’ Corps currently are battling against a wildfire that started Saturday in Sabana Oka, an indigenous territory in the South Pacific canton of Buenos Aires.

On Tuesday afternoon firefighters also began battling a wildfire inside Carara National Park in the Central Pacific, and later that day they received another report of a fire at Medio Queso de Los Chiles, a community close to the border with Nicaragua.

Currently there are no official reports of how many hectares have been affected in the last three fires, Román said.

Last year, a total of 139 wildfires burned approximately 30,440 hectares across Costa Rica. Eighty-eight of the fires were within protected areas.

The Fire Department launched a media campaign in February to raise awareness about wildfires, which usually increase in frequency during the dry season from December to April.

Wildfires so far this year, and for the same period last year, have burned only about one-fifth the number of acres burned during the same periods in 2012 and 2013, according to SINAC data.



Wildfires continue; Lake George, Minnesota hit Friday night





 The danger of wildfires continues to increase in the Hubbard County and Bemidji areas. 

Friday night Lakeport, Lake George and DNR firefighters fought a grass fire south of Lake George off County Road 4. They had it contained in an hour.



The Bemidji Fire  Department has responded to 12 wildfire incidents so far this spring season, as of Friday morning. Debris burning has been the most common cause of these fires. With the dry conditions, wildfires are starting easier and spreading very quickly. This fire behavior will likely continue to worsen until we see significant “green up” of the vegetative materia 

Open burning restrictions are in place throughout the Bemidji area. Any open burning can only be done with a special variance permit that is issued by the fire department or Minnesota DNR. Recreational or camp fires used for the purposes of cooking, warming, and entertainment are still allowed. Area residents are encourage to use caution this spring as we enter our most active wildfire period of late April thru the middle of May.

Tips regarding wildfires include: contact 911 if you notice an unattended or out-of-control wildfire, never leave a recreational fire unattended, do not discard cigarettes, matches, and smoking materials from moving vehicles or anywhere in dry vegetative material, be certain to completely extinguish cigarettes before disposing of them and to be aware that hot vehicle exhausts and sparks from operating equipment can easily ignite dry grass.

For more information, contact the Minnesota DNR. - PRE.



Firefighters tackling wildfires across the Highlands In Scotland

Firefighters have been dealing with several wildfires across the Highlands.
About 40 remain at the scene of a moorland blaze a few miles north west of Dornoch. Crews were first called to the scene at 12:30 on Thursday.

Other incidents have been reported near Lochinver, Cluanie, Balintore and Loch Broom and on Skye and Benbecula.

The heath and grass fires have come during a spell of dry and windy weather and a warning of an increased risk of wildfires in Scotland.

At the height of the incident near Dornoch on Thursday night eight appliances and four other units were involved in tackling the flames.


Eight appliances were at the scene at the height of the incident on Thursday night

Smoke from the wildfire on Friday

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said a number of appliances were still at the scene on Friday.

Incident commander John MacDonald said: "We are dealing with a very protracted wildfire incident which covers a wide area and where access is difficult in places.

"I would like to pay tribute to the commitment and effort of fire crews who have been dealing with this incident.

"I'd also like to thank local residents for their assistance and support during this incident." - BBC.


Arizona's risk of significant wildfires increasing

Dry and warm weather is resulting in an increasing threat of wildfires. (Photo: 12News)

Dry and warm weather has prevailed across Arizona the past several weeks and this is resulting in an increasing chance of significant wildfires over the next few months.

With a very dry winter and spring so far this year, Paul Iniguez, a meteorologist at the Phoenix National Weather Service notes, "Were looking at about 25 percent of our average rainfall so far this winter so it's a pretty significant deficit"

Warm conditions coupled with these dry conditions is resulting in fuels across the desert floor. In the high country, quickly drying out increasing the fire threat.

Regarding these dry conditions and the upcoming wildfire season. Iniguez highlights, "Were expecting it to be pretty active again this year because of the lack of rainfall that we have had over the past couple months".

This correlates with the latest fire outlook issued by Predictive Services, which indicates that the southern portion of Arizona has an above normal chance of significant wildfire potential in May. That threat increases drastically for nearly half the state (from around Flagstaff southward) during the months of June and July.

Fire season will quickly come to an end as monsoon rains move into the region in July. And the good news, all indications point to an active monsoon across Arizona.

So just how many fires have there been so far this year? According to the National Interagency Coordination Center, as of Thursday, across the United States (including Alaska) there have been a total of 805 fires so far this year, scorching 17,962 acres.

These numbers will only increase as the desert southwest moves further into fire season. - AZ Central.



INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Lightning Strike Plane Just Seconds From Crash Off Shetland, Scotland - Minor Damage, No Passengers Were Injured!

A Loganair Saab 340s plane in Inverness. Pic: Phillip Capper

April 11, 2015 - SCOTLAND
- A passenger plane pulled out of a terrifying nosedive with just seven seconds to spare after being hit by lightning in Scotland, says an air accident report.

The Loganair flight, carrying 30 passengers and three crew members, was moments away from crashing into the North Sea before the pilot wrested back control.

The island-hopping Saab 2000 was flying from Aberdeen to Sumburgh Airport, Shetland, when it hit a snow storm with 70mph winds, an interim report by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) said.

The 42-year-old pilot decided to abort his approach when he was seven miles away, and the plane was then struck by lightning which travelled from the nose to the tail of the aircraft.

He and the co-pilot wrongly believed the autopilot system had disengaged and struggled to regain control of the plane as it plunged at high speed.

As the co-pilot declared a mayday, the pilot kept trying to gain height - but every move was countered by the autopilot.

When it fell to 4,000ft, the plane suddenly pitched nose down and started falling at 158ft per second.

At 1,100ft - giving the crew just seven seconds to act before the plane crashed into the waves - 'pull-up' alarms sounded, the captain applied full power and the aircraft finally started to climb.

The plane landed safely in Aberdeen, with only minor damage.

No passengers were injured, but many were left shaken by the incident, which took place on the night of 14 December.

Passenger Shona Manson told the Daily Telegraph: "It was really, really bumpy. If it was someone who's a bad flyer, it'd be their worst nightmare.

"We were on descent and I said to my partner, we're going back up again, and just as we started to go up again there was an almighty bang and a flash that went over the left wing.

"Then we were really ascending, and at that point there were a few folk looking around going 'Oh my God, what's happening?' The poor guy across the aisle from me just had eyes like rabbits in headlights."

The report said the crew may have thought the lighting strike had disabled the autopilot because other controls had stopped working.

But it was still functioning and trying to descend to its instructed level for the landing.

The AAIB report said: "Although the pilots' actions suggested that they were under the impression the autopilot had disengaged at the moment of the lightning strike, recorded data showed that it had remained engaged."

It said it had not identified any technical malfunction which might account for the incident, and the investigation is continuing, looking at crew training, autopilot design, and any "human factors". - SKY News.



MONUMENTAL DELUGE: Widespread Flooding – The Latest Reports Of High Tides, Heavy Rainfall, Flash Floods, Sea Level Rise, And Catastrophic Storms!

April 11, 2015 - EARTH -The following list constitutes the latest reports of high tides, heavy rainfall, flash floods, widespread flooding, sea level rise and catastrophic storms.


Kashmir Floods – Officials Say 44 Killed, 12,000 Homes Damaged



Photo: IFRC. A flood victim taking refuge on roof of a house in Srinagar.

The state government of Indian controlled Jammu and Kashmir issued some official figures for the recent floods and landslides that hit the state in late March this year.

Revenue Minister Javaid Mustafa Mir gave the following figures in the state legislative assembly:

44 people died
25 injured
12,565 structures (homes or buildings) were damaged
862 cattle died
211 camps have been set up to house 2,907 families that were forced to evacuate their homes
1,474 tents and 3,287 blankets have been provided to those displaced by the floods

Financial Help for September Flood Victims

The floods and landslides in March 2015 followed soon after the devastating floods in Kashmir of September 2014, where over 200 people died.

Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, said yesterday that the government will start disbursement of relief materials from 15 April 2015 for victims of the September floods.

He said that the rehabilitation of flood-ravaged people of Jammu and Kashmir is a huge challenge and a main priority of the government.

During the Question Hour in the Legislative Council, he said:

“The government will start disbursement of relief from April 15 to the flood-hit people. To small-time businessmen and the impoverished who were not having insurance cover, and affected by floods of September 2014″.


Mexico – Veracruz to Get Emergency Funds for March Floods

Earlier this week the Interior Ministry in Mexico declared emergency status for 18 municipalities in the state of Veracruz that were affected by floods, heavy rain and hailstorms.

The severe weather struck between 25 and 27 March 2015. At least 7 people were killed and 100s made homeless. While some areas, such as Cordoba, were being hit by intense hail, others, such as Atzalan, were waist-high in flood water after heavy rain had caused flash flooding and local rivers overflowed.


Hail and floods Ixtaczoquitlan, Veracruz, Mexico. Photo: Government of Veracruz

Hail and floods Ixtaczoquitlan, Veracruz, Mexico. Photo: Government of Veracruz

Hailstorm, Veracruz, Mexico. Photo: Government of Veracruz

Declaring a state of emergency will allow Veracruz state government access to financial resources of the “Fund for Emergency Response” through the Ministry of Interior. The state government will then provide assistance to flood victims in the 18 affected municipalities. According to the government statement, the municipalities are:

Agua Dulce, Chalma, Chiconamel, Chicontepec, Coatzacoalcos, Huatusco, Ixhuatlán Southeast, Jesus Carranza, Las Choapas, Martinez de la Torre, Minatitlan, Moloacán, Nanchital, Papantla, Plato Sánchez , Poza Rica, San Andrés Tuxtla and Sochiapa.


Interstate north of Milwaukee closed due to record rains, floods

Linda Siegel sits along the Milwaukee River at her home in Mequon.

An interstate was closed north of Milwaukee after several vehicles became partially submerged in flood water due to heavy rain.


Ozaukee County Sheriff's Lt. Cory McCormick says no one was hurt when the water flooding their vehicles in the southbound lanes of Interstate 43 early Thursday. The sheriff's department closed about 100 yards of the interstate near the Port Washington exit from about 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Milwaukee received 2.47 inches of rain on Thursday, setting a rainfall record for April 9, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Madison also broke its previous record for the day, with 1.51 inches recorded between midnight and 4 p.m. Thursday.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the Milwaukee River near Cedarburg in Ozaukee County Thursday.


Dutch Plans to Solve Flood Issues at Bentiu Refugee Camp, South Sudan

Dutch flood prevention experts are working on plans to alleviate flooding in the Bentiu refugee camp in South Sudan.

The camp is notoriously flood prone. It is home to around 50,000 refugees escaping the violence of the civil war. The compound is around 70 hectares and is situated on low-lying ground that becomes a swamp during the rainy season, causing already low living standards to worsen. We have written about flooding in the camp several times. Last year the camp was under water for several weeks during June and July, and once more during August.

Following trade and development minister Lilianne Ploumen’s visit to South Sudan last autumn, a team of hydraulic engineers – led by the consultancy firm Grontmij – has drawn up a plan to improve the situation.


Floods in refugee camp at Bentiu, August 2014. Photo: UN Photo / Flickr

Bentiu camp, South Sudan. Photo: UN Photo / Flickr

In the 2014 rainy season the entire camp flooded, including the toilets, schools and hospital. “Despite the efforts of aid workers, UN staff and the refugees themselves to make the best of the situation, conditions were terrible,” said Ms Ploumen. “That’s why we sent a water expert to Bentiu to assess short- and long-term needs.”

Flood Alleviation Plans

The result is a new plan to renovate the existing camp and add an extension. To ensure adequate drainage, a dike will encircle the camp, ditches and canals will be dug and large-scale pumps will be installed.

According to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, every possible effort is being made to finish land reclamation efforts before the rainy season begins in May or June. It is a project of immense proportions, in a difficult location, in the middle of a war zone. The total cost amounts to some USD 20 million, with USD 5.4 million provided by the Netherlands. Other financial backers include the UN, the EU and Switzerland.

Dutch efforts focus on drawing up the technical plan and supervising its implementation. Most of the financial contribution will be used to cover the costs of installing the ditches, canals and pumps.

The project aims keep all the displaced persons at the camp – whose numbers continue to increase – and aid workers dry in the 2015 rainy season.


Bentiu camp in June 2014. Photo: MSF

Bentiu refugee camp under water, August 2014. Image taken from video by CARE International

“This is not just about preventing flooding,”’ said the minister. “It’s also about reducing the risk of illnesses like diarrhoea and cholera. Living conditions will still be tough, but they will be improved.”

‘What we’re doing in Bentiu is an excellent example of the added value of Dutch knowledge and expertise,’ said Ms Ploumen. “Most important of course, is what we’re doing to give the refugees better places to live. At the same time, we’re highlighting the major role Dutch businesses and knowledge institutions can play in emergency aid provision.”

Ethiopia Camps

In March this year the UN announced that it will begin relocating more than 50,000 South Sudanese refugees from flood-prone camps of Leitchuor and Nip Nip refugee camps in the Gambella region, western Ethiopia, to avoid flood risks posed by the start of the rainy season.


Cambodia – Elevated Wells Reduce Risk of Disease After Floods

Children of Kokor Primary School collect water from their newly elevated and rehabilitated well in Kokor village, Kampong Cham province, eastern Cambodia.
Photo credit: UNICEF Cambodia/Martina Tomassini / EU/ECHO

In autumn 2013, several parts of Cambodia were severely affected by flooding, leaving many rural water supplies unusable and unsanitary. Unclean water and lack of sanitation and hygiene are among the leading causes of diarrhea – a preventable disease which kills an estimated 2,300 children in Cambodia every year.

With funding from the European Commission, UNICEF joined forces with the Cambodian government to reduce the risk of water-borne diseases for vulnerable children and their families, during and after a flood emergency. Some 98,000 households in flood-prone areas are expected to benefit from the joint EU-UNICEF initiative.
At Kokor Primary School, children are eager to use their new well to water their cherished vegetable garden. “Since the well has been rehabilitated and elevated, we don’t need to worry about the rainy season anymore,” explains Lorn Leang Heng, Kokor Primary School director. The school well is one of the 275 wells rehabilitated across Cambodia as part of a joint EU, UNICEF and Cambodian government initiative to strengthen preparedness and build resilience in flood-prone areas.

Older children run to the top of the 2-level well and start pumping water, while younger ones gather around the tap on the ground level and start passing around buckets and watering cans. “Having two water points means that, while the bottom one is under water when it floods, the top one remains dry and can still be used,” continues Lorn Leang Heng. “When the 2013 flood hit, the well was completely submerged: it took two weeks for the water to go down!” he adds.

Children help water the plot and pick the vegetables. Spinach, salad and morning glory (a type of water spinach popular in south-east Asia) are all grown at the school and eaten together by students and teachers come harvest time.

“What I like the most? Pumping the water!” says Man Manit, an 11-year old female student.

“Every year this area is subject to flooding,” explains Tong Phal Long, chief of Kokor commune. “After the floods in 2013, some of us continued to use the wells in the village but we had several diarrhea cases. We needed the wells to be chlorinated and repaired. We needed clean water,” adds Tin Sen, chief of Kokor 2 village. “Now people have started using village wells again: they feel more confident to do so because they see less diseases caused by contaminated water,” he concludes.

In Kokor 2 village, four out of a total of five wells have been rehabilitated (with one being raised), benefiting a total of 1 582 people. In most households, well water is used for cooking, bathing and washing; half of the villagers use it for drinking as well, after boiling it or using a water filter (the remaining half buy drinking water from water providers).

“Rehabilitated wells are good for children’s health and all household activities, including vegetable gardens,” explains Yin Saron, 53, mother of seven and farmer of chili, maize and rice. “With no well, I would have to go to the nearest pagoda to get water, one kilometre away from here. During the rainy season the area is flooded. I would need to take a boat to get to the pagoda,” she adds. “It is expensive and difficult for the community to mobilise the money for well repairs: the rehabilitation UNICEF and the EU delivered helped us a lot,” Yin concludes with a smile.

This joint EU-UNICEF initiative has supported the training of rural development teams in well chlorination and disinfection and of community members in basic sanitation and hygiene, and taught sub-national officials how to map wells with a user-friendly mobile application for tablets and smartphones.

Learn more about the EU-UNICEF partnership.


Kenya Floods – 1 Killed in Kajiado, 2,000 Displaced in Kisumu


Heavy rain which resulted in deadly floods in Siaya County, in south-west Kenya a few days ago has now affected other areas of southern Kenya, leaving 1 dead and 2,000 displaced.

Kajiado
In Kajiado county, one person was killed after he was swept away in his vehicle by the overflowing Olkerirai River on Sunday 05 April 2015, according to The Star Kenya. Two others fond themselves in similar circumstances the day before and had to be rescued.

Kisumu
Around1,500 people were forced from their homes after flood water started to rise in Muhoroni, Kisumu county, on Monday 06 April 2015.

Local media
say that the worst affected areas include Migosi, Nyakach Manyatta, Nyalenda, Kaloleni, Bandani and Kondele. The flooding was blamed on the poor state of the drainage system in the area.

Floods in Kisumu county also displaced around 80 families in Achuodho village on Sunday 05 April 2015, according to Kenya Red Cross. Some of the families have moved to churches and schools while others are living in camps provided by the Kenya Red Cross. Crops, livestock and roads have all been damaged in the flooding.

The death in Kajiado means that at least 6 people have died in flooding in Kenya in the last week. At least 5 people died in Siaya County after heavy rains resulted in flooding after local dams were breached.



Northern Chile Floods March 2015 – Facts, Figures and Photos

The regions on Atacama, Antofagasta and Coquimbo in northern Chile were hit by severe floods on 26 March 2015 after a period of relatively heavy rainfall.

Chile Floods – Facts and Figures
Below are the latest figures (as of 06 April 2015) from the government of Chile.
3 regions affected – Antofagasta, Atacama and Coquimbo
26 people killed
Over 150 reported missing
29,741 people affected
2,514 displaced by the floods and staying in temporary shelters
2,071 homes destroyed
6,254 homes damaged
2,265 tons of aid to the affected regions

By Region

Antofagasta
3 people killed
1,452 affected
38 displaced
71 homes destroyed
1,236 homes damaged
The town of Taltal is considered to be the worst affected

Atacama

23 people dead
28,000 affected
2,476 displaced and housed in temporary shelters
Affected areas include Paipote, Inca de Oro, Copiapó, San Antonio and Amolanas, Alto del Carmen Chañaral, Diego de Almagro, El Salado

Coquimbo
289 victims
18 homes with major damage
No displaced

Rainfall Amounts
The only figure available for the time of the floods in is from Antofagasta, which saw 24.4 mm of rain fall in 24 hours between 25 and 26 March 2015. The relatively small amount (compared to other major flood events) is the equivalent of 7 years of rainfall in this desert region.

Causes of the Floods

The cause of the heavy rainfall have been mentioned here . Warmer sea temperatures (attributed to El Niño) combined with an unusually strong and persistent “cut-off” low pressure system that was trapped over Chile by an exceptionally strong ridge of high pressure, resulted in unusually heavy rainfall, according to RMS.
Heavier than normal rainfall falling on dry desert land and rocks, on steep mountainsides with little soil or vegetation, resulted in torrential runoff, which, by the time it had reached coastal areas such as Taltal and Chañaral, had become a raging torrent.







- Floodlist | Star Tribune.




EXTREME WEATHER: "Hailstones Were Pretty Big And Hurting" - 40 Minutes Of Hailstorm Leaves A Trail Of Destruction In Mathura, India; Smashing Roofs And Car Windshields; Killing People And Scores Of Birds And Animals!

Massive pieces of hail caused damage to crops in Mathura district's villages. © Arun Kumar

April 11, 2015 - MATHURA, INDIA
- It was 3.30pm on Friday. The hailstorm started suddenly as Bhura Singh Meena of Bilauthi village in Mathura district was working in his field. "The hailstones were pretty big and hurting. We ran for cover to the local school," said Meena.

The storm subsided in a few minutes but what happened next is something Meena hasn't seen in his 60-odd years. It started again, but this time there was no rain, just hail. "It was like hard white balls falling from the sky," he said.


Several cars parked at the Vrindavan temple were damaged in a hailstorm

Three spells of hail took place in a span of around 40 minutes in the district. The storm started over Vrindavan and move north-northwest leaving a trail of smashed car windshields, hole-ridden asbestos roofs, scores of dead birds and animals as well as injured people. A house in Nagla Imam Khan village collapsed, killing two persons.

"Hailstones weighing up to 1kg fell during the storm," said district revenue official Ranvir Singh.


WATCH: Massive hailstorm in Vrindavan, India.




There was no way of confirming the claim, but thousands of hectares of flattened wheat fields through the district told their own tale of the storm's fury.  - The Times of India.






ICE AGE NOW: Weather Anomalies - Unusual Cold Snap Brings Early Snow In New South Wales, Australia?!

Early snow in New South Wales

April 11, 2015 - NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA
- It's barely a week into April, and already snow has started falling in NSW.

Residents around Oberon in the state's Central Tablelands witnessed some falls in the first major cold snap this year.






Snow in this time of year is unusual in the area, on the western side of the Blue Mountains, with the falls brought on by a combination of a low pressure system off the coast and cold air in the upper atmosphere.

NSW woman Donna Coventry snapped this series of photos showing the snow in Shooters Hill, which saw some of the heaviest of falls in the Central Tablelands. - 9 NEWS.



PLANETARY TREMORS: Magnitude 4.7 Earthquake Strikes West Of Ferndale, California!

USGS earthquake location.

April 11, 2015 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.7 off the northern coast of California.

The USGS says the quake was centered about 161 km west of Ferndale and struck at about 18:59 UTC, Saturday.

Ferndale is located just over 100 miles south of the Oregon state line and about 275 miles northwest of Sacramento.


USGS shakemap intensity.


Yesterday, a 4.8 magnitude tremor also struck off the coast of California.

Strong earthquakes with an epicenter off the coast can trigger tsunamis, depending on the size and type of the fault movement. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center tracks earthquake data for the West Coast. 



MONUMENTAL MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFFS: The Fukushima Effect - Officials Reveal "Bizarre" Events Off California's Coast; "We're Seeing MULTIPLE ABORTED FETUSES Every Day"; HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS Of Seabirds That Nest In Area NOW MISSING; "HUGE, UNPRECEDENTED Die-Off Like WE'VE NEVER SEEN"; Many Baby Seals Dying After Mothers Led Them To A Cliff Edge; "Brutal To Watch"!



April 11, 2015 - U.S. WEST COAST
- About thirty miles out from the Golden Gate, the federally protected Farallones are breeding grounds visited by hundreds of thousands of seabirds – many of which use the islands as a  winter way station — but not this year. Gerry McChesney, manager of the site for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, says that’s a bad sign not just for the Farallon Islands but also for wildlife more broadly along California’s coast. There was also hardship for breeding marine mammals. Dozens of pregnant sea lions proved too weak to carry their pups to term “That’s such a bizarre thing,” McChesney says. “We were seeing multiple aborted fetuses every day,” 94 in total – or nearly half the number of sea lions born there in 2014. Nor was the warm winter kind to elephant seal pups. Russ Bradley, Farallon program manager for Point Blue Conservation Science, says elephant seal mothers, trying to cool off amid the unusual heat, led their pups up to a cliff that, while breezy, proved perilous – “and actually had a fair amount of pups fall into this sea channel, because they’re pups and they’re clumsy and they got too close to the edge.” “It is pretty brutal for the biologists out here that had to watch it,” McChesney says. “It was pretty tough.” Among the conspicuously absent birds was a type called Cassin’s Auklet, which feeds on krill. All along the Pacific coast, McChesney says, these birds have been suffering “a huge, unprecedented die-off like we’ve never seen” for want of food. That’s also bad news for other species that eat krill, he says, from salmon to blue whales. - Apr 5, 2015 (emphasis added) - KQED Science.


Over the past four months, seals and sea lions are having difficulty reproducing, local seabirds have had low colony attendance… Observations of disrupted breeding activities include: California sea lions aborting pups due to poor body condition of the mothers. Since January 9th, 94 aborted sea lion fetuses have been recorded on the islands, well in advance of their June due date. Ninety-four is almost half the total number of sea lions born on the island in 2014. High elephant seal pup mortality due to warmer air temperaturesPup survival was low this year Many pups died when overheating mothers led them to a cliff edge in attempts to get cool; pups then fell to their deaths.  Low attendance of breeding seabirds – Farallon nesting seabirds usually visit the islands during winter, but this year winter attendance was unusually low. In fact, the Cassin’s Auklet… has been largely absent from the islands in the last few months Since auklets feed mainly on krill, their activity and nesting success are good indicators of the availability of this food resource, which is very important for many marine predators including whales and salmon… “These unusual observations highlight the importance of monitoring our coastal wildlife,” says [Gerry McChesney, manager of the site for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service]. They are significant indicators of ocean health.” - Apr 1, 2015 - US Fish & Wildlife Service.


Researchers view the Farallon Islands as a barometer for the health of the overall ocean and this year in particular has been tough. Hundreds of sea lion pups have beached themselves, but elephant seals are having trouble tooDoug Cordell, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: “Some of them have died when the mothers lead them to a cliffs edge attempting to get cool and the pups then fell to their deaths. We’re seeing unusual occurrences with the bird populations. Very low attendance of the breeding sea birds Any of these things in isolation you might say, ‘Hmm, that’s interesting.’” - Apr 2, 2015 - KGO.


Feb. 22, 2015 winter pelagic trip, Monterey Bay: Shearwaters were extremely low in numbers, either because of the warm water, or because of the declining numbers which I have been talking about for the past several years, or because of both reasons.

Full KGO broadcast here

Compiled by: ENE News.



PLANETARY TREMORS: Magnitude 4.2 Earthquake Strikes Off The Coast Of Oregon!

USGS earthquake location.

April 11, 2015 - OREGON, UNITED STATES
- A magnitude 4.2 earthquake struck off the Oregon coast at 5:44am UTC Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey reports.

The earthquake occurred at 203 miles west of Bandon and had a depth of 10.0 km (6.2 miles).

There are no reports of any damage and no tsunami warning was issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Maps released by the USGS show the quake occurred close where the Pacific plate meets the Juan de Fuca plate.


Earthquake History

A strong earthquake in Del Norte County, California, on November 22, 1873, caused chimney damage in many places as far north as Port Orford, Oregon, and east to Jacksonville, California. The tremor was felt from Portland to San Francisco and onboard ships at sea. Chimneys were damaged (intensity VII) in the Portland area from an October 12, 1877, earthquake apparently centered in the Cascade Mountains.

Another severe shock affected Portland on February 3, 1892. Buildings swayed, and terrified people rushed into the street (VI). The earthquake was felt strongly at Astoria and Salem; the total area affected covered about 26,000 square kilometers. Some damage to buildings at Umatilla (VI-VII) resulted from a March 6, 1893, earthquake. Details on this shock are lacking.

On April 2, 1896, three shocks in succession awakened everyone in McMinnville (VI). The main shock was felt at Portland and Salem. A similar occurrence on April 19, 1906, awakened people at Paisley (V). Three additional shocks followed within 1 1/2 hours. A strong earthquake on October 4, 1913, in the Seven Devils Mountains of western Idaho broke windows and dishes (V) in the area. On May 18, 1915, a sharp local earthquake rattled dishes, rocked chairs, and caused some fright (V) at Portland; three shocks were reported.

Three shocks were felt at Fort Klamath (V) on April 14, 1920. The center was probably in the vicinity of Crater Lake. People in a small area around Cascadia felt an earthquake on February 25, 1921 (V). A shock that was probably rather strong in an unsettled region of southern Oregon occurred on January 10, 1923. Plaster fell at Alturas, California, and the tremor was felt strongly (V) at Lakeview, Oregon. The felt area extended to Klamath Falls. Another earthquake was felt widely over a sparsely settled area in eastern Oregon on April 8, 1927. The center was apparently in eastern Baker County; the maximum intensity (V) was noticed at Halfway and Richland.


Seismicity Map - 1973 to March 2012



A damaging earthquake occurred at 11:08 PM PST on July 15, 1936, near the State line between Milton-Freewater, Oregon, and Walla Walla, Washington. The magnitude 5.75 shock affected an area of about 272,000 square kilometers in the two States and adjacent Idaho. Ground cracking was observed about 6.5 kilometers west of Freewater, and there were marked changes in the flow of well water (VII). Many chimneys were damaged at the roof level in Freewater; in addition, plaster was broken, and walls cracked. Similar damage was reported from Umapine. Total damage amounted to $100,000. There were numerous aftershocks up to November 17; more than 20 moderate shocks occurred during the night, and stronger ones were felt (V) on July 18 and August 4 and 27.

A shock of intensity VI affected about 13,000 square kilometers in the vicinity of Portland on December 29, 1941. A downtown display window was shattered, and a few other windows were broken in other parts of Portland. The earthquake was also felt strongly at Hillsboro, Sherwood (where many were frightened), and Yamhill. The felt region extended into Washington; Vancouver and Woodland experienced minor damage.

On April 13, a major earthquake (magnitude 7.0) caused eight deaths and an estimated $25 million damage at Olympia, Washington, and a broad area around the capital city. The depth of focus was estimated to be slightly greater than normal, which, in part, accounted for the large felt area - 388,000 square kilometers in the United States. In Oregon, widespread damage was observed, several injuries occurred at Astoria and Portland. A maximum intensity of VIII was experienced at Clatskanie and Rainier, where many chimneys twisted and fell, and there was considerable damage to brick and masonry.

Minor damage in the Portland area resulted from a December 15, 1953, shock. There was one report of a cracked chimney and slight damage to fireplace tile (VI). Additional reports of plaster cracking were received from Portland and Roy, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington. The total felt area covered about 7,700 square kilometers.

Similar damage occurred at Salem on November 16, 1957, from an earthquake felt over a land area of 11,600 square kilometers in northwestern Oregon. The tremor frightened all in the city (VI) and caused some cracked plaster in West Salem.

On August 18, 1961, another earthquake caused minor damage at Albany and Lebanon, south of the 1957 center. The magnitude 4.5 shock was felt (VI) by all in the two cities. Two house chimneys were toppled, and plaster cracked. The felt region extended into Cowlitz County, Washington; the total area was about 18,000 square kilometers. Portland experienced another moderately strong shock on November 6, 1961. Slight plaster cracking (VI) was the principal damage reported. Also, part of a chimney fell, and windows and lights broke. The earthquake was felt over a large area (about 23,000 square kilometers) of northwestern Oregon and southwestern Washington.

A series of earthquakes near the Oregon-California border began on May 26, 1968, and continued daily through June 11. At Adel, old chimneys fell or were cracked, and part of an old rock cellar wall fell (VI) from a magnitude 4.7 tremor on June 3. Some ground fissures were noted in Bidwell Creek Canyon, near Fort Bidwell, California. The total felt area in the two States covered 18,000 square kilometers.

Numerous other shocks located in California, Idaho, Nevada, Washington, and offshore points affected places in Oregon. The 1959 Hebgen Lake, Montana, earthquake was also felt in the State; slight damage was reported at Richland. - USGS.



MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFFS: Disaster Precursors And Warnings From Mother Nature – The Latest Incidents Of Strange Animal Behavior, Migratory Patterns, Attacks, Deaths, And Appearance Of Rare Creatures!

April 11, 2015 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports of unusual and symbolic animal behavior, mass die-offs, beaching and stranding of mammals, and the appearance of rare creatures.


150 melon-headed whales strand on Hokota beach, Japan

Residents of Hokato attempt to save melon-headed whales along a 10 kilometre stretch of beach.  © AFP: Toshifumi Kitamura

Rescuers have been forced to abandon efforts to save around 150 melon-headed whales that became stranded on a beach in Japan, after frantically trying all day to save them.

On Friday rescuers had been battling to stop the creatures' skin from drying out as they lay on a beach in Hokota, about 100 kilometres north-east of Tokyo, while some were being carried in slings back towards the ocean.

But as darkness fell, local officials in Hokota called off the rescue effort. They said they had only been able to save three of the animals that had beached.

The rest of the creatures, a member of the dolphin family usually found in the deep ocean, had either died or were dying, they said.


"It was becoming dark and too dangerous to continue the rescue work at this beach, where we could not bring heavy equipment," said an unnamed Hokota city official.


A local resident pours a bucket of seawater over a melon-headed whale, a member of the dolphin family, beached on Hokato's shore.
  © AFP: Toshifumi Kitamura

Workers remove a dead melon-headed whale that beached on the Japanese shore.


"Many people volunteered to rescue them but the dolphins became very, very weak."

"Only three of them have been successfully returned to the sea, as far as we can confirm," he added.

Earlier, television footage showed several animals from the large pod had been badly cut, with many having deep gashes on their skin.

A local resident pours a bucket of seawater over a melon-headed whale, a member of the dolphin family, beached on Hokato's shore.

A journalist at the scene said that despite efforts to get the dolphins into the water, some were being pushed back onto the beach by the tide soon after they had been released.

A number of the creatures had died, he said, and were being buried.

The pod was stretched out along a roughly 10-kilometre-long stretch of beach in Hokota, Ibaraki, where they had been found by locals early on Friday morning.

"They are alive. I feel sorry for them," a man told public broadcaster NHK, as others were seen ferrying buckets of seawater to the stranded animals and pouring it over them.

Massive efforts were required to get the three that survived back into the water.

Rescuers wrapped them with blankets before putting them on a coastguard vessel. The animals were then taken to waters about 10km from the shore and released, according to NHK.

While the reason for the beaching was unclear, Tadasu Yamadao, a researcher at the National Museum of Nature and Science, said the dolphins might have got lost.

"Sonar waves the dolphins emit might have been absorbed in the shoals, which could cause them to lose their sense of direction," he told the Yomiuri Shimbun.


 WATCH: 150 dolphins stranded in Japan.



Workers remove a dead melon-headed whale that beached on the Japanese shore.
Melon-headed whales, also known as electra dolphins, are relatively common in Japanese waters and can grow to up to 3 metres.

"We see one or two whales washing ashore a year, but this may be the first time to find over 100 of them on a beach," a coastguard official said.

Despite international pressure, Japan hunts minke and pilot whales off its own coast, and has for many years also pursued the mammals in the Antarctic Ocean using a scientific exemption to the international moratorium on whaling.

Japan also defies international opinion with the slaughter of hundreds of dolphins in a bay near the southern whaling town of Taiji.

The killing was brought to worldwide attention with the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove. - ABC News Australia.


Migratory birds starving in Nova Scotia due to prolonged snow cover

American woodcock

This extended Winter has been hard on us, but it's been especially hard on migratory birds moving into our area.

Thanks to the snow, birds are struggling to find food and many are dying or becoming too weak to fly.

Injured and sick birds are constantly being brought in to 'Homeward Bound City Pound' in Dartmouth.


"This robin was found in a puddle on the side of the road," says Katie Hauser, an employee at Homward Bound.

"Oh he's very skinny. You can feel, that's his keel bone right there. He should be puffed up just like a big chicken breast," said Hauser.



It's been a hard Spring on birds in Nova Scotia because the fields continue to be covered in snow. It's especially difficult for migratory birds that have just arrived from down South. Robins and American Woodcocks can't find the food they need to survive.

"Their main food source is bugs and grubs and worms and anything they would find in the dirt, and they can't get to the dirt," said Hauser.

WATCH: Long winter tough on birds.


Dave Currie found one spot where American Woodcocks are feeding. In 40 years following birds, the President of the Nova Scotia Bird Society says he's never seen so many in one place searching for food.

"I may have a dozen reports that I can say I actually seen a woodcock. You can see a dozen now in one spot if it's open ground."

An American Woodcock at the City Pound was well underweight.

"A full grown adult woodcock should weigh around 200 grams," says Hauser. "This one is around 120 grams."

Currie says woodcocks aren't strong flyers and are vulnerable to prey. They are also ground feeders. They have a certain swagger that's easy to recognize.

"We do expect a fair amount of mortality with the American Woodcock this year," says Currie, "but hopefully some will survive as they normally do. It cleans the system a little bit."

"Next year there won't be as many woodcock, but at some point in time, they'll build up again."

If you want to help the birds, Hauser has a few suggestions.

"You can put out dry or soaked dry cat food or wet canned food," says Hauser.

"Egg yolks, hard boiled egg yolks, any bird seed, mash," she says is also good. But bread is not advised, birds can choke on it. - Global News.


Elderly woman died from dog attack in Wilkes County, Georgia

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has released the autopsy results on an 81-year-old woman who was found dead in a ditch in Washington, Georgia earlier this week.

The autopsy on Neta Lee Adams was performed Thursday at the GBI Crime Lab in Decatur, Georgia and the results are that Adams died after a dog attack. Her official cause of death has been ruled Traumatic Injury.

The manner of Adams' death has been ruled accidental, but the GBI and the Wilkes County Sheriff's Office are continuing the investigation into Adams' death. - WJBF.


Wild boar attacks 2 people in Gloucestershire, UK

A wildboar attacked a couple and their dog as they walked
in Lydney.  © ITV News
Police are warning the public to beware after a wild boar went on the rampage - attacking a couple and their dog.

The group were walking along a footpath on Ayleburton Common, part of the Lydney Park Estate, when the boar charged from the undergrowth, leaving the springer spaniel with a broken leg and other severe injuries.

Leaving the dog for dead, the hog then tried to attack the woman, and it was only when her husband beat it off with a branch that it finally left.


The gamekeeper on the estate has been informed and he said he believes there is a female boar with a young family on the estate, which may explain the violent behaviour.

Police are advising all walkers to take care when walking on the estate - and in wooded areas generally -and to ensure their dogs are kept well under control.  - ITV.


Black flamingo, possibly unique, found in Cyprus

Black flamingo with some pink ones

An extremely rare black flamingo has been spotted on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, exciting nature lovers who said it may be the only bird of its type ever seen.

The flamingo, seen on the banks of a salt lake on Wednesday morning, is thought to have a genetic condition known as melanism, which causes it to generate more of the pigment melanin, turning it dark, rather than the usual pink colour.

"From what have seen on the Internet, there was only one other sighting ... in Israel, so maybe this is the second one," said Pantelis Charilaou, head of the environmental department of the British Sovereign Bases, territory under the control of former colonial power where the bird was seen.

The flamingo, entirely black, save for a tuft of white feathers on its rear, was feeding with others on the banks of the lake on Wednesday afternoon. Experts said it may be the same one that was spotted in Israel in 2014.

The sighting in Cyprus happened during a flamingo count at a sprawling salt lake at the Akrotiri environmental centre on the southern coast of Cyprus.

"A melanistic individual is a very, very rare sighting ... basically its the opposite of an albino when the individual produces more melanin than normal," Charilaou told Reuters Television.

Up to 20,000 greater flamingos descend on Aktoriri salt lake each year. - Daily Mail.


Seals killing harbour porpoises off Welsh coast

The footage (pictured) backs up a recent study that grey seals have a penchant for young porpoises with a thick layer of
energy-packed fat. And that far from scavenging on dead animals, they attack healthy creatures

Just went you thought it was warm enough to go into the water...

Killer seals have been spotted off the British coast.

On four separate occasions, grey seals have been spied feasting on harbour porpoises that they have killed.

Video footage of one of the attacks shows a male contentedly ripping chunks of blubber off his prey, as the water all around turns bloody.

Although killer seals are known to lurk in the waters off the continent, this is the first time they have been seen around Britain.


WATCH: Grey seal found feasting off the carcass of a porpoise.



And with porpoises similar in size to grown men, it raises concerns that swimmers could be next.

Tom Stringell, an ecologist for the Welsh environment agency, said that while people shouldn't panic, they should keep their distance from seals, on land and in the water.

The footage, the first in the world, was shot by a wildlife cruise company, off the coast of Pembrokeshire.

Dafydd Rees, who made the recording, said: 'I've been working on this stretch of the coast but have never seen anything like it before.

'It was really surprising to see.'


Grey seals are known for being playful and friendly. Found all around Britain's coastline, they can grow to 40 stone but normally feed on fish no bigger than salmon.

However, they have recently been blamed for attacks on porpoises on the continent.

Recent Dutch research concluded that hundreds of the dead porpoises bore the tell-tale marks of a seal attack.


The study said that the seals seemed to have a particular penchant for young porpoises with a thick layer of energy-packed fat.

And that far from scavenging on already dead animals, they were attacking healthy creatures.

The Utrecht University researchers said the seals may have developed a taste for porpoises after sampling some caught in fishing nets.

And with many of the mutilated carcasses washing up on beaches popular with swimmers, they warned people could be next.

They said: 'Keep on swimming and enjoying nature. However, people should be aware that the largest predator in our countries is the grey seal.

'These animals may reach 40 stone, are related to bears and have the teeth to go with that lineage.

'In the water, they are much more able than the most agile human swimmers and they have made the switch from eating fish to hunting porpoises, another mammal.

'To date, there have been no reports of serious attacks or wounds inflicted, but some people have been bitten by inquisitive or provoked seals.

'The advice would thus be to be aware that seals are not out there to cuddle and to keep some distance.'

Dr Stringell, who has done his own research for Natural Resources Wales, said that despite reports of seals eating porpoises off the coast of Belgium, France and the Netherlands, he was surprised to discover it happening here.

He said: 'We observed this happening on four separate occasions off the coast of Pembrokeshire.

'But it is unclear how long this has been going on for, and why.'

Natural Resources Wales said that growing seal numbers may mean there is increasing competition for food.

Alternatively, the attacks may be an example of 'opportunistic hunting' - with porpoises too close for hungry seals to ignore.

Dr Stringell, a senior marine mammal ecologist, said: 'Adult grey seals have also been known to attack, kill and eat juvenile grey seals, so this type of activity isn't totally surprising and is likely part of the natural cycle of life.

'Seals are unlikely to pose any direct danger to people. However, they are wild animals that possess sharp teeth and are a protected species, so they should not be approached on land or in the water, particularly during the autumn pupping season.'

This is not the first time the seal's cuddly image has been tarnished.

In November, it emerged that Antarctic fur seals had been raping king penguins. One penguin was then killed - and eaten.
- Daily Mail.


Elephant kills man in Botswana

Charging African elephant. © ratujoe

Police in Kazungula are investigating a case in which a 78-year-old man was killed by an elephant a few kilometers from Kazungula on April 2.

Acting station commander, Assistant Superintendent Meshack Ranku said a passerby reported the case to police officers who were at the time manning a roadblock.

"The victim was then rushed to Kasane Primary Hospital where he was certified dead," he said. He advised people to be careful when moving away from residential areas because the area was infested with wild and dangerous animals.  - All Africa.


Attack by family dog puts 5yo girl in hospital in Queensland, Australia

The Sunshine Coast council is warning dog owners to take extra precautions around children after a dog attack that hospitalised a five-year-old girl yesterday.

The Beerwah girl is in a stable condition in Nambour Hospital after being bitten by her family's pet dog at their home just after 7:30am (AEST).

The attack left her with a six centimetre wound on her chest and the great dane-neapolitan cross has been surrendered to council to be destroyed.

Council's Shanagh Jacobs said people could not be too careful around dogs.

"People do need to be aware that while dogs can be a loving member of the family, they still are animals so they can act unpredictably," she said.

"So you should monitor children when they're interacting, even if it is the family pet and it's well known to you because dogs can get scared or they can be hurt by something that they aren't used to and ... that's how they lash out."

She said the council would not be investigating the attack.

"Because it happened on a private property and with a family pet, the family have contacted council to ask us to take the animal away because they've got other family ... they've got other children in the household, so council has respected that," she said.

"They've actually been quite responsible pet owners.

"Their containment and everything was quite excellent. It was just an unfortunate incident with a family pet." - ABC News Australia.


Elephants trample 3 women to death in Chhattisgarh, India: 10 killed in 4 months


Terror prevailed at Korba forest region when three women were trampled to death at two separate spots by a herd of elephant on Sunday. It is apparently tenth death reported due to tusker attack in span of four months in northern Chhattisgarh, officials said. The incident took place at Kartala forest region when a woman who had gone to Charmar's Baridand's forest to collect Mahua fruit and was chased for about half a kilometer by herd of 10-12 elephants.

One of the elephants then caught her in the trunk and throwing her on the ground, she was trampled to death.
Few kilometers ahead, the herd chased other two women at Chorbhatti forest in the same style, while the women were collecting forest produce and were crushed by elephants, JR Nayak, Korba divisional forest officer said. Police team and forest officials rushed to spot to find the three women dead, however, families of deceased were provided instant relief compensation of Rs 10,000.

According to Nayak, herd of elephants had entered early on Sunday from Dharamjaigarh forest region to Korba division and have been frequenting in Katghora region as well for quite sometime. Deceased were identified as Maankunwar (35), Dilkunwar rathiya (70) and Kamla Bai (48). Korba collector Reena Babasaheb Kangle has issued alert in the region and has asked villagers not to venture into forests for next few days.

She has asked locals to be alert and immediately inform forest officials on spotting elephants in the region. Officials who had been tracing this her said that tuskers were spotted at a private farmhouse at Bundeli village on March 24 where they had damaged crops on ten acres of land and camped there for six hours. The herd had damaged water pumps, pipelines, tanks in the farmhouse.

After two days they had reached Kudmura forest range in Korba and caved down four to six houses, leaving families homeless and now, after killing three women, they have marched towards Champa region. Officials said that elephants and bear are fond of Mahua fruit which is available in abundance in forest. - Nyoooz.


Hundreds of thousands of birds killed due to more avian flu outbreaks in Minnesota, United States

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A ninth Minnesota turkey farm has been hit by a form of bird flu that's deadly to poultry, this time in a large Jennie-O-Turkey Store operation that has 310,000 turkeys, federal authorities and company officials say.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said tests confirmed it was the same highly pathogenic H5N2 strain of avian influenza that infected eight other farms in Minnesota, the country's top turkey-producing state. Those farms have lost about 373,000 turkeys to the outbreaks between the disease itself and birds that were killed to prevent the disease from spreading.

Minnesota Board of Animal health spokeswoman Erica Gunderson said the Meeker County operation has 10 barns on various sites. She didn't know immediately how many birds were in the infected barn, but said state officials would be working to determine what to do with the turkeys in the other barns.

Jennie-O, a division of Hormel, said on its website that it's the first company-owned facility to test positive for the virus. Three previous confirmed cases connected to Jennie-O were flocks that were being raised by independent contractors. Those were in Kandiyohi, Stearns and Lac qui Parle counties.
Officials say the risk to the public is low and there's no danger to the food supply.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar met with state Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson, state Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger and other state and federal officials to discuss the importance of a coordinated response to contain the disease and to protect the state's turkey industry. She plans to meet with turkey growers in southwestern Minnesota later this week.

The Minnesota Democrat sent a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, thanking his agency for its quick response and urging him to ensure that funding keeps flowing for control efforts and to compensate producers for their losses.

Background on deadly strain

H5N2 is a highly contagious virus that kills commercial poultry quickly once it gets into a barn. It can spread through an infected bird's droppings or nasal discharges — yes, turkeys can sneeze. But the risk to the public is considered low, and infected birds are kept out of the food supply.

Where is this turning up, and in what kinds of birds?

Minnesota has been hit harder than any other state, but it's not clear why. The virus has caused outbreaks at nine turkey farms in central and western Minnesota since late February, as well as farms in the Mississippi and Central flyways in Missouri (2) South Dakota (1), Kansas (1) and Arkansas (1). Nearly all the losses have been at big commercial turkey farms. But this strain of bird flu can be just as deadly to chickens. The Kansas outbreak involved a backyard flock of chickens and ducks. H5N2 and other highly pathogenic strains have also been found since late last year among wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial farms in some western states and British Columbia. Canadian officials confirmed Wednesday that a turkey farm in southern Ontario had also been infected with H5N2.

Aren’t most commercial poultry barns shut tight to keep diseases out?

They are. Poultry farms with good biosecurity strictly limit who's allowed in. Workers often have to shower on their way in and out, wear protective coveralls and step in disinfectant to kill viruses on their boots. Equipment coming in and out is typically sanitized. Trucks entering and leaving a farm might get their tires scrubbed. But the system doesn't always work. Experts say it requires everyone to do everything right all the time. Plus rodents and wild birds that sneak into a barn can bring in the virus.

So what happens to these turkeys when bird flu arrives?

They die, and quickly. The first symptom farm workers notice may be a rapid spike in sudden deaths. Less severe symptoms can be similar to colds and flu in humans, or a flock turning quiet. Vaccines have been used around the world to protect flocks against various bird flu strains ahead of time, but this strain is new to the U.S. Once an infection is confirmed at a farm, all surviving birds on the property are typically killed to prevent it from spreading. These flocks are usually killed by pumping a water-based foam into the barn, following guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture endorsed as humane by the American Veterinary Medical Association. The foam suffocates the birds within minutes.

What do they do with all these dead birds?

They compost them — usually right in the same barn where they died. It sounds gross, but composting is a widely used and approved method throughout the poultry industry to dispose of birds that die in the usual course of business on a farm — and those that die in disease outbreaks. Studies show that properly done, the heat generated by composting is enough to kill flu viruses and other pathogens commonly present in poultry such as salmonella. The compost then can be safely spread as fertilizer.

Do outbreaks wipe out affected farmers?

An outbreak that kills tens of thousands of birds certainly can cost a farm dearly. The government doesn't compensate producers for birds that die of the disease itself, but it does reimburse them for birds that have to be euthanized as a precaution. That gives farmers an incentive to report suspected outbreaks and deal with them swiftly. Often the birds themselves belong to a big poultry company such as Jennie-O Turkey Store, Cargill or Butterball but are being raised by contract growers. And a barn can be returned to production within a few months, once it's been thoroughly cleaned out and disinfected.

Why does Minnesota have so many turkeys?

Minnesota is the top turkey state in the U.S. It produces around 46 million turkeys each year worth about $750 million, and exports around 8 percent of its production. Turkey farms have become clustered over the decades around processing plants and cheap sources of feed, and Minnesota has plenty of both. Jennie-O is based in prime turkey territory in western Minnesota, and Minnesota is also leading corn and soybean producer.

Will I be paying more for turkey?

Probably not. While Minnesota alone has lost at least 373,000 birds from this outbreak, and the toll nationwide is over 500,000, that's just a sliver of U.S. turkey production — 235 million birds in 2014. If anything, the loss of export markets because of these outbreaks may put downward pressure on prices because that turkey will have to be sold domestically. And don't worry about Thanksgiving. Turkey prices around the holidays often have nothing to do with the costs of production. Retailers often sell turkeys at a loss just to draw in customers who'll stock up on stuffing mix, cranberries, sweet potatoes, pies and other traditional favorites. - Laboratory Equipment.


2,440 birds dead due to avian flu on a farm in Maradi, Niger

Niger has identified a suspected outbreak of H5N1 bird flu on a chicken farm in the southern town of Maradi, near the border with Nigeria which has confirmed cases of the virus in several northern states.

Authorities in Niger said late on Wednesday they had isolated the farm and banned the transport of all poultry out of the town, the third largest in the country, as they waited for samples to be tested in Italy.

The suspected cases in Niger come a week after neighboring Burkina Faso also confirmed an outbreak of H5N1.

A number of nations in the region, where borders are porous and millions rely on poultry farming as a source of income, last faced a major outbreak of bird flu in 2006.

Bangana Ibrahim, Niger's livestock minister, said authorities suspected bird flu on the Maradi farm after more than half of the 2,440 chickens on it died.

Ibrahim said that all poultry imports from any nation that had confirmed bird flu had been banned as of April 7. Ivory Coast and Mali have imposed similar preventative measures.

For now there was no risk of human infection in Ivory Coast, said Dr. Daouda Coulibaly, head of epidemic surveillance at the ministry of health, who worked to contain the 2006 outbreak.

"Currently we’re in the phase of monitoring animal health," he told Reuters. "If at some point it’s confirmed there are cases among our poultry, we’ll roll out phase two, which is to protect the population because, in being exposed to that poultry, they too could be infected."

Ivory Coast has already turned back around 30,000 chickens at the Burkinabe border, Lassina Ouattara, Burkina Faso's director of veterinary services said on Thursday.

"The economic implications of this bird flu epidemic are serious," he said. "Today we are in an emergency situation to respond to the epidemic, but we are already thinking of how to relaunch the sector once the crisis is contained."

At least five people have died from bird flu in Egypt this year. - Reuters.


139,000 cattle and 3.88 Million birds killed since December due to disease in South Korea

A total of 151 cases have been confirmed at cattle and pig farms

South Korea is continuing to fight outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), which despite a cull of millions and a vaccination programme have not yet been eradicated.

Since the first reported outbreak of FMD on 3 December, a total of 151 cases in pig and cattle farms have been confirmed. To date 139,000 head on 160 farms have been culled.

According to a USDA report, FMD cases have recently spread to new areas and the number of cases is increasing rather than falling.

The Korean government attributes this to an increased number of reports being filed and more tests being carried out of as a result of enhanced quarantine measures.

It is introducing compensation for those who support suspected cases, and provincial governments are taking action against farmers who intentionally avoid or delay reporting suspected cases.

In addition, 800,000 doses of a new type of vaccine will be distributed to farms in FMD-infected areas and the government is planning to import another 2.4 million doses. 

Outbreaks of HPAI have led to a cull of 3.88 million birds from 163 farms. The government is tackling the outbreak, which so far has 133 confirmed cases, by appointing "surveillance people" who will check traditional markets where live chickens and ducks are sold. - Global Meat News.



Fish kills littering ponds in western New York, United States

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has been getting lots of calls about dead fish littering the banks of ponds, but biologists say it's probably nothing to worry about.

Fisheries biologists from DEC's Buffalo office say the extended period of ice and deep snow is likely to result in fish die-offs in numerous ponds, especially shallow ones. The phenomenon is known as winterkill.

Winter die-off is caused by oxygen depletion in the water. Ice prevents wind action from adding oxygen to the water, and deep snow blocks sunlight from reaching aquatic plants. Without enough light, the plants can't produce oxygen.

DEC says the best way to avoid winterkill is to deepen a pond to more than 12 feet and remove some of the decaying plant material on the bottom. - Greenfield Reporter.



Hundreds of dead fish line ponds across Massachusetts, United States

Victims of winter kill, hundreds of dead fish line the shore of "Little Farm Pond" in Framingham. Daily News Staff Photo / Allan Jung

The fallout from a record-setting winter is continuing this month as piles of dead fish begin to wash ashore in lakes and ponds across the state, including several locations in Framingham.

State and local authorities are investigating reported fish kills in Sucker Pond, near the intersection of Rte. 9 and Cochituate Road, and Norton Pond, located in north Framingham, beside Cameron Middle School.

A Daily News photographer also stumbled across a pile of dead fish Wednesday in the strip of land separating Farm Pond off Dudley Street from the small body of water immediately south of it.

Similar discoveries are being made around the region this month as ice begins to thaw on shallow ponds and lakes, revealing that thousands of fish were casualties of an unrelenting winter.

 Richard Hartley, fish kill coordinator for MassWildlife, explained that the phenomenon is tied to the amount of snowfall in February and March. During the winter, plants become the only source of oxygen in frozen lakes and ponds. But without sunlight, they can’t perform photosynthesis to replenish the oxygen supply. Plants begin to die and decompose, using up the dissolved oxygen in the water and suffocating scores of fish.

The phenomenon is more pronounced during years with heavy snowfall because the snow blocks sunlight from penetrating the surface of the water, Hartley said.

“When you get a severe winter like we just came through, where you have a blanket of snow sitting on top of ice for an extended period, sunlight penetration goes down to zero,” Hartley explained.

Reports of dead fish washing up began to spike in Massachusetts last week as warmer weather returned, heating up waterways that have been frozen for weeks, Hartley said. In an average year, the state records about 30 fish kill sightings. That number is already up to 22 this year, he said.

Some of the first signs that fish are being wiped out usually come from anglers who bore holes in the ice.

Some encounter dead plant material or hydrogen sulfide, a gas that smells like rotten eggs. Hartley said one fisherman in Worcester County even reported dead fish were bobbing up through holes in the ice.

"We knew that some things were certainly setting up for this,” he said.

 The state has documented locations this year where thousands – perhaps even tens of thousands – of dead fish washed ashore. Everything from  largemouth bass to carp and hearty bullhead catfish have been susceptible.

Piles of dead fish are a dramatic sight, but they don’t generally pose a public health hazard. Fish killed by lack of oxygen alone are not toxic or poisonous. Research has shown that ponds and lakes generally bounce back quickly from large kills caused by the weather, Hartley said. - Metro West Daily News.



600+ Water birds found dead on a lake in North Dakota, United States

Photo: USGS

More than 600 waterfowl carcasses discovered at Nelson Lake in Oliver County in March are a result of avian cholera, a bacteria that is readily spread in areas where waterfowl congregate in large numbers.

Dr. Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the initial inspection on March 10 revealed the presence of primarily mallards and Canada geese, already in varying states of decay. "Based on carcass decomposition, it looked like the onset was likely weeks earlier," Grove said.

Whole carcasses were shipped March 11 to the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis., for necropsy and disease testing. The lake was surveyed a second and third time on March 11-12, when carcasses were again collected and shipped.

"Birds were tested for multiple diseases, including avian influenza, which came back negative," Grove said. "Typically we do not see die-offs in wild birds from AI."

A midwinter survey in early January had indicated 23,000 mallards and 30,675 geese on Nelson Lake, which serves as the outflow for the Minnkota Power Plant and has open water year-around.

Dead birds on the lake have been reported at some degree over the last several years, Grove said, with several local anglers indicating it is a frequent occurrence.

"This is one of two areas in the state with open water in winter, so waterfowl will congregate in this area," Grove added. "Whenever large numbers are in a confined area, the chances of a disease outbreak increase."

Grove encourages anyone seeing dead wildlife in large quantities to report it to the Game and Fish Department. "We are concerned when more than a few deaths are observed in one area within a short period of time," he said. - Valley News Live.



Over 7000 turkeys dead in bird flu outbreak in Ontario

Authorities have placed eight poultry farms in southwestern Ontario under quarantine as they scramble to contain an outbreak of a bird flu virus found on a turkey farm near Woodstock.

The outbreak was discovered after birds on the turkey farm started to die late last week.

So far 7,500 turkeys on the farm have died.

An official from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the remaining birds in the flock of 12,000 will be euthanized humanely.

CFIA vice-president Paul Mayers says preliminary testing shows the virus is of the H5 subtype, but additional tests are being done to determine the full subtype.

That testing should reveal whether this outbreak is caused by an H5N2 virus that has been hopscotching among poultry operations in a number of U.S. states of late. - Newstalk 610.



Another woman trampled to death by elephants in Chhattisgarh, India: Eleventh recent fatality in district

Another woman trampled to death in elephant attack at Mayapur at Surajpur district on Tuesday. Herd of about 35 elephants present in the region have already destroyed a dozen homes in last two days.

Forest officials said that 25-year-old Pushpa was going towards her home with her two and half-year-old daughter when elephants attacked on her from behind. The incident took place early in morning when it was dark, official added.

Pushpa was pushed and chased few meters and she threw her daughter off the ground, before tuckers trampled her to death. Officials say it's eleventh death in tusker attack in north Chhattisgarh, while on Sunday, three women were also trampled to death at Korba district.

Neighbouring villagers of Jhingadohar village had to take shelter in another village on Monday due to presence of elephants in region.

Officials said that elephants are fond of Mahua fruit which is available in abundance in forest. While villagers also collect mahua from forest to make country liquor, elephants often attack them in forests or damage their homes in search of mahua which is kept preserved.

Dense forests of north Chhattisgarh including Surguja, Korba, Raigarh, Jashpur and Koriya districts have been most common zones for elephants and human elephant conflicts has escalated in past few months with several deaths.

A youth was trampled to death at Sevra village in Pendra, Marwahi forest region on March 27, two men were crushed to death by elephants in Surajpur and Koriya districts on February 6 after they had damaged about 70-80 houses in the region.


According to a report, state recorded 8,657 incidents of property damages and 99,152 incidents of crop damage between 2004 and 2014. Total compensation paid towards human-elephant conflict has amounted to Rs. 2,140.20 lakh during this period. - The Times of India.


Leopard kills three-and-half-yr-old girl in Rampur, India

Leopard
A three-and-a-half-year-old girl was mauled to death by a leopard in Khaneri village in Rampur, 135 km from here, on Friday night.

Riya was attacked when she went out to answer the call of nature. Her mother realised Riya was missing when she did not respond to her calls. The mother immediately raised the alarm and a search was launched. However, night-long effort by local residents and Forest Department staff bore no result.

The mutilated body of the girl was found on Saturday morning, about 500 m away from where she went missing.

The Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Rampur, sanctioned an interim relief of Rs 25,000 for the family.

The Forest Department has mounted a vigil to monitor leopard movements in the area. Cameras and trap cages have been set up in sensitive areas.

A team of the Wildlife Department is making efforts to capture the leopard that killed the girl. Residents have been advised to avoid venturing out alone in the dark.

The DFO has set up an emergency cell (0-1782-233107; 9418273576) in the office of the Assistant Conservator of Forests, Rampur, for reporting any information related to the leopard.

According to wildlife experts, shrinking habitat is largely responsible for the man-animal conflicts. In view of this, the state has sent a proposal to the Central government to increase the total protected area under wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and conservation reserves in Himachal from 7,160 sq km to 8,409 sq km.

As per government data, 362 cases of leopard attack — which led to 31 deaths, 94 grievous injuries and 237 simple injuries — have been reported since 2004. - The Tribune.


Thousands of non-native goldfish invade Colorado lake

A handful of goldfish dumped into a Colorado lake, evidently by a pet owner years ago, have reproduced and thousands of the non-native fish now threaten indigenous aquatic species, state wildlife officials said on Friday.

Rangers in Boulder County last month detected teeming schools of the goldfish in a semi-rural lake, Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said.

The pet fish, a form of carp not native to North America, now number between 3,000 and 4,000 and state biologists are reviewing the best way to remove the invasive species, she said.

"We could use electrofishing or end up draining the lake," Churchill said.

Electrofishing entails dangling a live wire from a boat into the water. An electric current emitted by the device stuns the fish and forces them to the surface where they can be netted alive.

The shock method was used to remove nearly 2,300 goldfish from a nearby lake three years ago, Churchill said.

If the invasive goldfish escape into waterways downstream, they pose a threat to native species such as channel catfish, pumpkinseed and blue gill sun fish, wildlife officials said.


Goldfish swim in the shallows of Teller Lake #5 outside of Boulder, Colorado April 10, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Goldfish swim in the shallows of Teller Lake #5 outside of Boulder, Colorado April 10, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

"Non-native species can be devastating to native populations by causing disease outbreaks and creating competition unbalance," said Ken Kehmeier, a senior aquatic biologist with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The illegal introduction of non-native aquatic animals into Colorado waters is an ongoing management problem, state wildlife officials said.

In addition to unwanted pet fish, some anglers dump sport fish of their own choosing into lakes, rivers and streams.

While some Colorado waters are stocked with non-native fish, they are only done so after rigorous testing to assure the fish not upset the local ecosystem, state biologist Ben Swiggle said.

Churchill said authorities are seeking the public's help in finding out who dumped the goldfish into the Boulder lake.

Whichever method is used to remove the fish, she said, they will likely be fed to raptors at a local wildlife rehabilitation facility. - Yahoo.


Titi monkey, unique to Peru, is under threat of extinction

The titi is one of the three endemic primate species of Peru. (Photo: Proyecto Mono Tocón/Facebook)

New species are discovered almost every day across the globe. At the same time, species that the world holds dear continue to be lost, and at a rapid rate.

The titi monkey, also known as tocón, is a primate endemic to Peru and lives in a special habitat in the San Martín region of the Amazon. It is so specialized that it can only survive in that particular region of the jungle. Unfortunately that very same habitat is being threatened by hunting and deforestation, reducing it to 50% of what it used to be, according to Arnaldo Paredes.

With these threats invading and destroying the San Martín habitat, the titi monkey has become one of the 25 most endangered primate species in the world.

The organization, “Bosque Ojos de Agua” reports that a group of hunters have been capturing the titi monkey to make a profit from selling them as pets or food. Bosque Ojos de Auga is located in the Pucacaca district in San Martín where they say it is a dangerous job to protect the jungle. They told El Comercio that two years ago these poachers burned down facilities where researchers and tourists celebrated the titi monkey.

The hunters have released threats in the community, declaring they have no plans to stop poaching the titi monkey in the near future. Not only the titi monkey faces these poachers, but jaguars as well have been killed for their skin.

Authorities have taken no action to prevent these threats as not one person has faced criminal charges, according to El Comercio. The community only has Paredes, considered the leading protector of the forest, five of his friends and organizations like “Bosque” to rely on to protect the titi monkey.

In addition, in 2007 the “Proyecto Mono Tocón” organization was started to promote the protection of the unique primate only found in this part of the Peruvian jungle.

According to the National Program of Forests of the Ministry of the Environment, Peru lost 1,306,507 hectares of Amazonian forests between 2003-2013. The report details that San Martín itself represents 20% of that destruction which compares to the size of five Singapore’s and 30 Paris’s. - Peru This Week.



Leopard attacks boy and father in Dhar, India

 Two people, including an eight-year-old boy, were seriously injured when they were attacked by a leopard at Pipli village in Dhar district under Nalcha police station in the wee hours of Friday.

The incident happened when Gulabsingh and his son Sunil were sleeping outside their house. According to Gulabsingh, the animal first tried to pull Sunil into the forest.


"As soon as the leopard pulled him by the ear, he awoke and raised an alarm. On hearing his cries, I ran towards the wild cat to save my son," he said.

When Gulabsingh tried to chase the leopard, the animal let go off Sunil and attacked his father before fleeing.

The injured were rushed to the district hospital by locals.

Confirming presence of a leopard in forest area around village, divisional forest officer Gourav Choudhary said search teams had recently spotted leopard pugmarks near the village.

"The fresh attack has put the forest search teams on high alert. Efforts to catch wild cat are on," he said. - Hindustan Times.