Number of Dead California Sea Otters Recovered in 2011 a Record High: Evidence Builds for White Shark Factor in Otter Mortality
The California or southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) appears to be experiencing an unprecedented increase in mortality from attacks by sharks, according to federal and state scientists.
... Shark bites have always ranked among the causes of mortality, accounting for approximately 8% of recovered carcasses in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.
"But we’re starting to see a perplexing trend suggesting increased shark attacks on sea otters," says Tim Tinker of the USGS Western Ecological Research Center, who co-leads the California Sea Otter Stranding Network with colleague Brian Hatfield. "Shark bite deaths accounted for 15% of recovered carcasses by the late 1990’s, and this has risen to approximately 30% of recovered carcasses in 2010 and 2011."
24 Feb 2012
Location: California, USA
Dozens of dead marine mammals, turtles in Gulf this year, NOAA says
Reports of dozens of stranded dolphins, whales, and sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico continue to pile up in the first two months of 2012, with federal officials tallying 48 marine mammals, mostly dolphins, and 87 sea turtles. Only a handful of marine mammal strandings were of live animals that may have been saved. None of the turtles were alive.
There continues to be concern that the high numbers of dead animals, especially the dolphins and whales, may be linked in some way to health problems either caused or exacerbated by toxic chemicals left behind by the BP Gulf oil spill.
...In October, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists announced that tests on five of 21 bottlenose dolphins found dead in Louisiana waters or stranded on beaches since February 2010 showed they were infected with brucellosis, a bacterial infection more often linked to death of cattle, bison and elk in the United States.
27 Feb 2012
Location: Gulf of Mexico, USA
Bird sanctuary at risk from disease outbreak
Thousands of birds are believed to have died and a sanctuary for endangered and protected birds is under threat following the outbreak of a disease on the Piako River.
... Avian botulism – which causes paralysis in birds – has spread throughout the area, near the Firth of Thames, for about a month.
... A Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry biosecurity scientist took blood samples from the sick birds and performed post-mortem examinations on the dead.
25 Feb 2012
Location: Thames, Waikato, New Zealand - Map It
Reported Wildlife Mortality Events to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center Updated
USGS and a network of partners across the country work on documenting wildlife mortality events in order to provide timely and accurate information on locations, species and causes of death.
This information was updated on February 24, 2012 on the USGS National Wildlife Health Center web page, New and Ongoing Wildlife Mortality Events Nationwide.
Quarterly Mortality Reports are also available from this page. These reports go back to 1995.
24 Feb 2012
OTHER WILDLIFE HEALTH RELATED NEWS
- Fears for wildlife after another Colquitz spill [British Columbia, Canada]
- Moose numbers tumble [Kenora, Ontario, Canada]
- 8 areas now under red tide alert [advised the public not to consume shellfishes] [Philippines]
- Wildlife Center issues emergency alert [Extreme weather] [Texas, USA]
- Wind myths: Turbines kill birds and bats: The location and size of the turbine, or windfarm, appears to be key
- Legislator trying again to allow deer farms [Tennessee, USA]
- Legislators must rate risk, reward of deer farming [Missouri, USA]
- Numbers still low; no known threat to humans or livestock [Kansas, USA]
- Eavesdropping on the squid world
- Best Science Photos of the Week - Feb. 25, 2012
- Study Extends the 'Ecology of Fear' to Fear of Parasites [Ecologists are increasingly finding it useful to think of parasites, such as ticks, as micro-predators and have been mining predator-prey theory for insights into parasite-host ecology]