November 2, 2007

Suicide or Murder? Iran Blames US After 152 Dolphins Die
Guardian Unlimited –
02 Nov 2007
R. Tait
Photo courtesy of AFP/Getty

When 152 dolphins were washed up on Iran's southern coast mass suicide was blamed. Then suspicion was shifted to fishermen, who were said to have beaten the dolphins with grappling irons after they became entangled in fishing nets.

But now a more familiar target has been accused: the US military and its hi-tech hardware and spying equipment. Rejecting suggestions that his employees may have committed a mass cull, the head of Iran's state-run fisheries organisation, Sha'aban-Ali Nezami, has alleged that the dolphins were victims of experimental US surveillance techniques. He has also said they could have been killed by electro-magnetic waves from military vessels in the Gulf and Oman Sea, where the US and British navies conduct regular patrols.

Some 73 dolphins were found washed up on the beach near the southern port of Jask last week. A month earlier 79 striped dolphins were discovered in the same area, which is rich in tuna and a site of industrial-scale fishing.

Botulism Suspected in Bird Deaths Along Grand Traverse Bay
The Associated Press (posted by
02 Nov 2007

Dead birds are washing ashore in Antrim County, and environmental scientists suspect botulism associated with invasive mussels is to blame. Beachgoers recently have spotted dozens of loon and grebe carcasses littering beaches along the eastern shore of Grand Traverse Bay. The disease has killed thousands of birds in the Great Lakes region in recent years.

"I walk on the beach every day, and I've seen some dead birds," Sherri DeCamp, who lives on the bay north of Elk Rapids, told the Traverse City Record-Eagle for a story Friday. "I would guess we see four or five each day, new ones." Nearly 3,000 gulls, grebes and red-breasted mergansers turned up on beaches along a 12-mile stretch of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in November 2006. They died from type E botulism, a neuromuscular disease caused by bacteria.

"Dew of Death" Discovery Shuts Wildlife Refuge
The Denver Post -
02 Nov 2007
J Ingold
Photo courtesy of The Denver Post | HH Richardson

Officials closed the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge to the public Thursday after revealing workers at an adjacent cleanup site had unearthed a potentially deadly chemical warfare agent. The workers detected the agent, a mustard-gas-like chemical called lewisite, late Wednesday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in a statement.

They were digging trenches as part of the cleanup effort of the arsenal's Superfund site, which is contained within the wildlife refuge but is separate from the refuge and not open to the public. Ned Calonge, Colorado's chief medical officer, said that the workers reported no symptoms as a result of the exposure and that air sampling showed the contamination to be limited.


Photo courtesy of


High Prevalence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Wild Populations of Lowland Leopard Frogs Rana yavapaiensis in Arizona
EcoHealth. 2007 Oct; [Epub ahead of print] [online abstract only]
MA Schlaepfer et al

Detection of Avian Influenza Virus Using an Interferometric Biosensor [online abstract only]
Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. 2007 Oct; 389(4):1193-9. Epub 2007 Aug
J Xu et al.

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