Tag Archives: pelicans

Mysterious Die-offs in Florida Lagoon

20 Jun

by Gayathri Vaidyanathan / Discovery News

Florida manatee. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Florida manatee. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

At least 111 manatees, 300 pelicans, and 46 dolphins — emaciated to the point of skin and bones — were all found dead in America’s most biologically diverse estuary.

Something is seriously wrong. The northern stretches of the Indian River Lagoon of Florida has a mass murder mystery that biologists are racing to figure out. The lagoon contains more species than anywhere else in the U.S. It is a barrier island complex stretching across 40 percent of Florida’s coast, around Cape Canaveral, and consisting of the Mosquito Lagoon, the Banana River and the Indian River Lagoon.

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Giraffe Death at Nightmare Zoo

13 Mar

article cross-posted from Kitsap Sun

In this Sunday, March 11, 2012 photo, activists hold placards during a protest against the use of plastic bags, locally known as 'kresek' following the death of a giraffe who ingested pounds of plastic food wrappers at Surabaya Zoo in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia. Indonesia's biggest zoo, once boasting one of the most impressive and well cared for collections of animals in Southeast Asia, is struggling for its existence following reports of suspicious animal deaths and disappearances of endangered species. (AP Photo/Trisnadi)

SURABAYA, Indonesia (AP) — The tigers are emaciated and the 180 pelicans packed so tightly they cannot unfurl their wings without hitting a neighbor. Last week, a giraffe died with a beachball-sized wad of plastic food wrappers in its belly.

That death has focused new attention on the scandalous conditions at Indonesia’s largest zoo. Set up nearly a century ago in one the most biologically diverse corners of the planet, it once boasted the most impressive collection in Southeast Asia.

But today the Surabaya Zoo is a nightmare, plagued by uncontrolled breeding, a lack of funding for general animal welfare and even persistent suspicions that members of its own staff are involved in illegal wildlife trafficking.

Incredibly rare species, including Komodo dragons and critically endangered orangutans, sit in dank, unsanitary cages, filling up on peanuts tossed over the fence by giggling visitors.

“This is extremely tragic, but of course by no means surprising in Indonesia’s zoos, given the appalling way they are managed on the whole,” said Ian Singleton, a former zookeeper who now runs an orangutan conservation program on Sumatra island.

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