Between 2010 and 2011 there were many reports of unexplained mass animal death mysteries in the UK– over 40,000 crabs were washed up in Kent, hundreds of dead fish were found in Dublin, 75 seal pups died overnight in England. Worldwide too there were unprecedented numbers of these events including almost 600 dolphins washed up dead in Florida.
These events are still continuing at this alarming rate in 2012.
Of course, it is natural for groups of animals to die off occasionally. But the frequency and rate of mass animal deaths is increasing. Already this year there have been at least 63 mass animal death events[i]. Yet despite there being no obvious explanation for them, no one seems to be reporting them.
As well as being largely ignored by the media, not much research is being done into these events. So far no one single theory has been put forward to link all these occurrences together. Rather, scientists believe they are all isolated events.
On social media sites, some people speculate that this is the beginning of the end of time; others believe that animals have the cognitive ability to commit suicide… and others simply have no explanation at all.
Not only are these events no longer being reported, a larger but slower mass extinction of thousands of species is being largely ignored. In the last 500 years, 900 species of animals and plants have become extinct and 10,000 more are close to adding to the list. Furthermore, most of these extinctions have occurred in the last 100 years[ii].
Should humans be concerned? Does it really matter if we lose these species? Whilst arguably some species won’t be missed by humans, some threatened species are essential to human life. Honeybees are vital for pollination and the health of our entire ecology and are currently dying off at alarming rates due to Colony Collapse Disorder[iii].
Whatever the truth is, one thing is for certain – since humans have been on the planet other species have been severely affected and many are becoming extinct. Surely this cannot be a coincidence. It seems to me we have a moral duty to research these events and the underlying bigger extinction event to do our best to curtail the rate of species loss.
Laura Owen 12.03.2012
Picture source: http://issuesoncall.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/mass-animal-deaths-update.html