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Birds, Fish, and Frogs: Indicator Species Die-off

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posted on Jul, 20 2007 @ 09:26 AM
Its just like the canary in the coal mine starting to gasp and flutter.

Missouri and Illinois conservationists are seeing troubling signs in amphibian populations, mirroring problems seen elsewhere in the world.

"We need to understand why we are losing species in Panama, Asia, my own backyard in Illinois, and across the river in Missouri," said Karen Lips, a zoologist at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. "This is not just a problem of global amphibian decline. It is a problem of global amphibian extinction."

Go to News>Space and Science>eighth story

I know, this happens every once in a while, but I sense an increasing scope, frequency and lethality to these outbreaks. How long before they start to strike human populations?

A recent die-off of hundreds of waterfowl in eastern Lake Ontario is caused by Type E avian botulism, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has found. Particularly affected are gulls and Caspian terns.

"The die-offs are becoming more common. We first saw them in the late 1990s. They're increasing in frequency and expanse over the last few years," she said. They affect any fish-eating birds or scavenger birds, including double-crested cormorants, ducks, loons, grebes and birds from the gull family.

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Officials claim the fish in the lake, the same ones that are making the birds sick, are still OK for human consumption, and fishing on the lake has never been better! That's reassuring.


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