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10 Mysterious Mass Animal Deaths


One of the strangest events that happens in
nature is when a large group of animals die at once. While many times these group deaths can be
attributed to a specific cause, there are a few mass die-offs where there is no clear
culprit. The absolutely frightening aspect of these
mass deaths is that the Earth’s ecosystem is incredibly delicate. A drop in the population of one animal can
have untold and terrifying consequences for the Earth’s ecosystem that could be disastrous
for the human race. Here are some mysterious, troubling mass deaths
of animal groups. 10. Velvet Swimming Crabs In January of 2010, 40,000 dead velvet swimming
crabs washed up on England’s Thanet Coast. Then, a year later, 25,000 crabs washed up
dead on the same shore. Both times, the beach was littered with the
dead bodies which attracted a large amount of birds, and it soon became a safety hazard. At first, researchers thought that the crabs
may have been killed by a virus, but after the second year, they believe that the cold
weather may be causing the crabs to go into hypothermia. But the only evidence of that is that any
time there have been large amounts of dead crabs found, there was snow on the beach and
researchers have no definitive answer as to what killed the crabs. 9. Borneo Pygmy Elephants Borneo pygmy elephants are the smallest breed
of elephant in the world and only have a population of about 1,500. Their very low numbers made for an alarming
sight when 14 dead elephants were found in the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve in the Malaysian
state of Sabah. Tests were done and the only thing that they
concluded was that it was an unknown toxin that killed the elephants. It’s unclear if the animals ate the toxicants
by accident, or if they were poisoned. There was an oil palm plantation and logging
concessions nearby that viewed the elephants as a nuisance and suspicion quickly fell on
them. However, a criminal investigation didn’t
turn up any evidence of foul play and the elephants’ deaths remain a mystery. 8. Humboldt Squid One of the most mysterious creatures in the
animal kingdom is the Humboldt squid. They’re six feet long, have strong arms,
powerful beaks and they have red skin, which is why they are sometimes called “Red Devils.” The reason the giant squid is so mysterious
is because for 95 percent of their lives they live at depths of 660 to 2,300 feet during
the day and at about 220 feet at night. These levels are at depths that can’t be
reached by scuba divers, so observation expeditions of the creatures are a very costly venture. Needless to say that when thousands of them
washed up on the beaches in California in January of 2005, it troubled and puzzled researchers
why they would apparently beach themselves. One researcher says the squids may have become
mentally deranged after a combination of eating something toxic and spending too much time
in warm water. However, that is just an educated guess and
the reason for the beaching remains unknown. 7. Harp Seals In December of 2010, the residents of northern
Labrador, Canada, started to find dead harp seals littering the beach. Over the course of the month, over 200 young
and adult seals washed up dead on the sands. After the bodies were found, a biologist with
Fisheries and Oceans Canada did some tests on the frozen carcasses, but couldn’t figure
out what the cause of death was. All of them looked to be healthy, the pathology
tests didn’t turn up anything and there was no sign of disease in the seals. One theory is that somehow the seals drowned,
but he is unsure how a large group of them would have managed to do so. 6. Saiga Antelopes The saiga antelopes are an endangered animal
that is recognizable because of their oversized nose. They are a critically endangered species and
in 2014, there were only 257,000 antelopes in four herds. They are only found in parts of Russia and
Kazakhstan, and during the winters the herds congregate and then split up during the spring,
where they give birth to calves. In May of 2015, during the calving season,
disaster struck and within two weeks, 134,000 saiga, which is half the population, mysteriously
dropped dead. It is believed that bacteria is the culprit,
but it is unclear how it became so deadly to the saiga because it is very unusual for
a bacterium to be harmless one day and then radically devastating the next. Researchers are currently investigating the
cause of the mass deaths in the hopes that they may save the rest of the saiga. 5. Sheep Outside of Istanbul, Turkey, in July 2005,
a group of sheep herders left a group of sheep grazing in a field and went for breakfast. When they returned to the herd, they found
an incredibly bizarre scene – the sheep were committing suicide. One sheep had walked off a cliff and fell
50 feet to its death. Amazingly, the rest of the sheep followed
the leader and walked over the same cliff. 1,500 sheep ended up jumping while the shepherds
watched on, unable to do anything to stop it. In total, 400 died, the others were able to
survive because the sheep that had already fallen made a cushion. 4. Pilot Whales Pilot whales are similar to killer whales
because they are both in the dolphin family, but pilot whales are slightly smaller and
are almost all black or gray with a lighter spot on their stomach. They are found in both the northern and southern
hemispheres in tropical parts of the ocean. Pilot whales also have an unusual tendency
of beaching themselves en masse. For example, in early 2009, over 400 pilot
whales died after they beached themselves in Tasmania. Another group beaching happened in February
of 2015, when over 100 pilot whales died after swimming ashore in New Zealand. Those are some of the biggest mass beachings,
but smaller groups of pilot whales beach themselves frequently all over the world. For example, 33 were found dead on a beach
in Ireland in November of 2010. Then, 20 were found on a beach in Florida
in November of 2012. Another mass incident happened in Nova Scotia,
Canada in August of 2015, where people found 10 beached whales and six died before they
could be returned to the water. Those are only a handful of examples and no
one is sure why the whales are doing this. It appears that they have a problem navigating
in shallow water, but otherwise, scientists are at a loss as to why it happens. Some speculation is that sonar may be affecting
them, or it could be disease or trauma that leads them to the shallow water, but no one
knows for sure. 3. The Indian River Lagoon, Florida The Indian River Lagoon is the most biologically
diverse estuary in Florida and the area encompasses about 40 percent of Florida’s coast. It is also the home to one of the most mysterious
mass animal deaths in American history. The first deaths were discovered in July of
2012, and it was 43 manatees. Over the next couple of months, more dead
manatees were found in the area, bringing the total manatee deaths to 111. Between January and June of 2013, 250 to 300
dead pelicans were found. They were all very thin and had heavy parasite
loads. Also found in January of 2013, were 46 dead
bottlenose dolphins, and like the pelicans, they too looked thin and sickly. Biologists believe one culprit for the die-offs
was a change in the ecosystem. An algae superbloom killed off 60% of the
seagrass, which is what manatees eat. However, researchers believe that is one element
and are still puzzled as to what the actual smoking gun is. 2. Chile’s Coastal Life Chile is a long, narrow country that encompasses
the Southwest coast of South America. In 2009, it was also the home of a number
of mass animal deaths. The first one happened in March, when 1,200
penguins were found dead on a beach in the southern part of the country. A month later, millions of sardines washed
up on the shore not far from the penguins. The smell got so bad that schools near the
beach had to be closed and the army had to shovel the fish off the beach. Then, over the course of three months, Andean
flamingos began abandoning their nests in the northern part of the country. Due to the abandonment, over 2,000 eggs didn’t
hatch. Then the final mass die off was in May, when
almost dead 60 pelicans were found on a beach in central Chile. Four major die-offs from four different species
was quite troubling for the science community, but there was no consensus as to what caused
the deaths. Some of the culprits include global warming,
overfishing, disease, and pollution. 1. Worker Bees The most famous mass die-off of animals is
the death of worker bees throughout the world. In the 1990s, beekeepers started documenting
higher than average deaths of bees during the winter. In 2006, the deaths were given a new name,
Colony Collapse Disorder. By the time the syndrome started making headlines,
beekeepers were losing 30-90% of their worker bees over the winter. This is a really troubling problem because
of how important bees are to our ecosystem. Bees and other insects pollinate one-third
of everything we eat. Out of all the crops we eat, which includes
all fruit, vegetables and nuts, 84% is pollinated by bees. So quite simply, without bees, it could lead
to global starvation. While the bees are not near extinction levels
yet, an upset in numbers could lead to an imbalance in the world’s ecosystem that
could be devastating in unforeseen ways. There are a number of theories of what exactly
is killing the bees, but no one is really sure. A couple of suspects include microbes, malnutrition
and fungicide, but the strongest suspect is neonicotinoids, which is a family of pesticides. In fact, in 2013, Europe banned the use of
neonicotinoids for two years and the American Federal Drug Administration is currently reviewing
its use. However, neonicotinoids are only suspected
and researchers are still investigating the possible causes for the deaths of millions
of bees around the world.

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Comments
  • My home state of South Dakota is supposed to be the largest honey producer. We grow a lot of alfalfa there and lots of natural wild flowers. Unfortunately, most honey we buy at the store is mixed with other sweeteners.

  • But the horseshoe crabs are most preferred to test for scientist mainly because its closer to human predictions or something

  • One Sheep……..(Wilhelm Scream)…….Two Sheep……(Wilhelm Scream)…….Three Liberals…….(Wilhelm Scream)……0.o

    TRUMP 2020

  • It's a black mite killing them off the USA are getting to the bottom of it atm it's causing over heating in bees and that's bad

  • These animals were all part of a cult whose charismatic leader promised them paradise if they all committed mass suicide.

  • I used to spend a lot of times outside looking closely at bugs and things. Now I garden. There seem to be fewer bugs in general than there were when I was a kiddo. Im in my 30s. Im going to plant as many things bees and butterflies like this spring and summer as I have room to plant to try and help them.

  • Exploration.  Humans travel beyond the atmosphere, but have technology to provide for breathing in space.  Squids travel outside their breathable water, but lack the technology to do so safely.

  • You're treating these mass deaths like mysteries, which they are not. We may not know the exact specifics of why each of these animals is behaving weirdly but as you commented on, we do understand that the relevant ecosystems are very susceptible to small changes. Notice that word I used, "small." Human impact on the environment is not "small," it is very large. Destroying forests and pumping the oceans full of plastic is a large change. Changing the chemistry of the atmosphere is a large change. The speed at which the global average temperature is changing? Yeah, that's a large change too. It's not a mystery why these animals are dying, we know that we are actively killing them.

  • Humans can survive by eating peas, corn, soy, and wheat for macronutrients and tomatoes and strawberries for micronutrients. These plants are either self-pollinating or wind-pollinating. Besides, bees are not the only insect pollinators.

  • Except for the bees & sheep its all ocean life deaths since 2005… scientists need to get a clue: the oceans are covered in plastic, overheated & polluted.

  • Well, I guess when partisan groups of humans call other partisan groups of humans “sheep “ (i.e easily led and manipulated), here’s the reason….

  • I think that Whales beach them self's in large numbers because one wale accidentally get stuck on the beach after chasing food, the other Whales hear the distressed whale, come to help and then get stranded themselves

  • I can only imagine what some people would have to say after learning about the sheep jumping off the cliff. I can see superstition being attributed to this story…….

  • These 5G towers are the ones killing the bees..ALSO..Where are the cockroaches???…..i usually get the roaches around December…I dont have 1 Cockroach running around in my home…I know they are a pest problem…But i am just baffled as to why i havent seen one since last year April 2019..??…I dont think i have the best bug spray in the world either????…i havent used it because i dont have ANY BUGS in my home…??..oh wait…even spiders…Explain me that…thank you…You need to check your homes if you're BUG FREE…Technically…You shouldn't be…I know it sounds Cliche…Its everyone's dream to have No bugs in their homes…thank you..

  • Before the mass die off of Humboldt squid, they experienced.a mind numbingly huge population increase due to ocean warming. Really. Marine biologists feared that the population spike was the new California brush fire.

    The mass sheep suicide was explained by biologists after they found that the sheep had been interbreeding.with lemmings.
    —– Sorry about that one, but the punchline was too obvious…

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  • Lol that's a myth well no it's not but my point is we will all adapt and gaia will too with that being said everyone needs to realize their footprint and I think that will help people. people dont know how extreme one person can leave on her if u walk and ur foot puts even an inch of imprint u owe earth

  • Navy sonar nets in the ocean torture whales and dolphins who can hear the blasted sonar tones. It's like having heavy metal blasted in your ears for 24 hours a day. They beach themselves to get away from the sound.

  • I can't believe there's no mention of all the blackbirds that literally fell out of the sky over the southern states. Thousands, if not millions, of birds just dropped in mid flight.

  • The sheep were a product of cross-breeding with Lemmings, no, not the real life furry creature who is incorrectly to be believed to be suicidal, but the game variety, they just couldn't stop walking over the cliffs as the shepherds forgot to set one of them as a blockade… 😛

  • They keep spraying the skys with barium, stroonium and aluminum oxide . THIS IS WHY THE BIRDS AND THE BEES ARE DISAPPEARING .
    IT DONT TAKE A ROCKET SCIENTIST TO FIGURE THIS OUT. .
    SOME OF US ARE NOT THIS STUPID !

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