Mass animal deaths reported; fringe sites panic over headlines

Mass animal deaths can be caused by a myriad of things – disease, natural toxins, algal blooms and other oxygen-depleting situations, human hunting and dumping, accidents, warmer waters, lack of food, etc. The mystery mongering sites will lump all the mass mortality events under one scary banner – DEAD ANIMALS! PANIC! They do a serious disservice to understanding and acting appropriately when these situations occur.

Sometimes we don’t know why it happens but that is no excuse to proclaim the next apocalypse. Here is a rundown of the latest reports of mass animal deaths.

Blue hydrozoans (not jellyfish) from Release the Glaucus! | Deep Sea News

With Spring alterations in wind patterns, hoards of blue, planktonic sailors known as Velella velella have raided the Western seaboard of the United States by the billions.

As California Diver posts, since they are at the mercy of winds, mass beachings are not uncommon. The reproduce en masse and then die that way. It’s nothing mysterious.

Masses of dead vellella on the beach. It happens.

Masses of dead vellella on the beach. It happens.

Terrapins: ‘Massive’ die-off of turtles: Dozens of dead diamondback terrapins wash up along Flanders Bay beaches 

The bloated bodies of dozens of diamondback terrapins have been found scattered across the shores of several Jamesport and Flanders beaches since late April.

Speculation here is that their food source, shellfish, is either missing or contaminated and the endangered population is feeling the effects acutely. The toxins can be produced by deleterious algal blooms called “red” or “brown tides” and then the turtles eat the filter feeders that are affected by the toxins.

Sea lions: We’ve reported on the plight of California sea lions. It’s not getting better.

Viewing the ocean from the state’s famous craggy headlands, it’s impossible to know that the ocean’s unusual clarity is hiding a cruel beauty: clear water is a sign that the ocean is turning into a desert, and the chain reaction that causes that bitter clarity is perhaps most obvious on the beaches of the Golden State, where thousands of emaciated sea lion pups are stranded.

It’s unclear if this is a problem of overpopulation or extreme lack of food. But California also recently experienced a devastating oil spill as well.

Saiga antelope in Kazakhstan

The death toll in a sudden die-off of critically endangered saiga antelope is nearing 20,000, according to authorities in northern Kazakhstan who are still unsure of the cause.

The cause of death is unclear, but authorities suspect the culprit is a bacterial infection carried in the mouth and breathing passage known as pasteurellosis.

Human hunting depleted the population to the point that they are now critical endangered and susceptible to such a blow via disease.

Local fish incidents:

One community in Delaware County is dealing with hundreds of dead fish. They’ve been showing up along the shoreline of a neighborhood lake, and it’s raising questions as well as creating a foul odor.

Source: Residents concerned about dead fish in Ridley Park lake |

It is expected that an algal bloom is also the cause of this. Runoff from heavy rain washes nutrients into the lake that results in a runaway explosion of single-celled organisms. The fish can’t breathe.

Carp in Georgia

A recent carp die-off occurring at Lake Oconee has many homeowners and visitors to the reservoir alarmed. However, this type of die-off involving carp seems to be a common occurrence during the late spring.

No one is very concerned about it except for the smell.

Floating fish that died during the winter:


[S]pringtime at the parks also means winterkill – up to hundreds of dead fish strangled by a lack of oxygen during the winter months left floating and decomposing near the water’s surface

Already Ypsilanti Township parkgoers have reported dozens to hundreds of dead fish floating in different spots in Ford Lake.

An official adds: “winter fish kills are common, especially in shallow lakes with excess aquatic vegetation and soft bottoms”

A site called “End Times Prophecy” lists all fish and other mass deaths. The site “Strange Sounds from the Sky” also goes dramatic and sounds silly labeling every such event as “apocalyptic” (you keep using that word…) But such sites never pause to assess the various and different causes some of which are MAN MADE, natural or really common and of little concern. Instead, they declare it all as a sign of a polluted and dying planet and impending doom for us all (so REPENT, blah blah blah). This is grossly misleading and reflects not only a blind adherence to religious ideas but zero understanding of how nature works. Animals die en masse ALL THE TIME. It just happens. We’d be far better off to stay calm and try to figure it out rather than panic and pray.

  7 comments for “Mass animal deaths reported; fringe sites panic over headlines

  1. skeptictmac57
    May 22, 2015 at 2:48 PM

    Not to mention the current devastating bird flu epidemic in the U.S.

  2. Ronald H. Pine
    May 23, 2015 at 10:38 PM

    Just a few days ago I was on the coast of Oregon where I witnessed for myself the large numbers of dead “blue hydrozoans” (Velella velella) on the beaches. The cause of their mortality is certainly no mystery. These are ocean animals which were all alive and healthy until they washed up on the beaches, owing to the prevailing winds pushing them, with their little sails, in that direction, and they died there on the beaches when they dried up.

  3. Ronald H. Pine
    May 24, 2015 at 11:03 AM

    Karen Testa suggests that the dead turtles’ being bloated may be owing to drowning. In my experience, dead turtles, perhaps especially ones that have been in the water, become bloated regardless of the cause of death, as do dead animals in general in and out of the water. I see no reason to believe that drowning as a cause of death would affect the degree of bloating one way or another. And if water turtles drown, this still makes one wonder what could be the cause of their inability to come up for air or leave the water as per usual.

  4. Casie
    May 26, 2015 at 12:14 AM

    How can these and many many other mass animal deaths that are for the most part mysterious deaths on a wide scale be justified??!! By saying “oh it’s nature” or oh it’s nothing to be concerned about!! This is alarming!!! And we should be concerned!!

  5. idoubtit
    May 26, 2015 at 8:00 AM

    You’re not paying attention. Read the piece and see that these are normal occurrences. It’s alarming but it’s not unnatural. We should be concerned but not about end times or some apocalypse. Humans are causing extinctions every day. That’s what we should be concerned about.

  6. Casie
    May 26, 2015 at 6:51 PM

    No one can be certain what it is and majority if not all is speculation so therefore it’s mysterious mass amount of animal deaths happening on a huge scale- all over the world and its not only affecting a few! It’s in some cases millions!! that it is concerning!! It’s no wonder people have thought this could be supernatural

  7. Casie
    May 26, 2015 at 7:12 PM

    That is crazy! Not on this wide scale! To say you know why this has (and still is) happened! you don’t know!! You think u know! but the truth is…no one knows!!! That is why there are so many who want to explain it but none can! People have their theories but nothing with proof!

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