Green News: Dead Animals, Everywhere
What’s been on people’s minds lately? Well, dead animals certainly have- blackbirds in Arkansas, turtles in Italy, manatees off the Florida Coast…you name it. In fact, these incidents have been the talk of green news as of late; three of Google’s top ten “Hot Searches” are related to the hundreds of dead birds that fell from the sky in Arkansas and Louisiana. Is this simply a media-induced frenzy, a sign that our precious world is ending, or an environmental concern that needs to be addressed? While substantial amounts of information are missing, there are still some essential things to take from this unique series of phenomena.
First, it is important to note that many species (including the birds in Arkansas and Louisiana) are prone to far greater threats than “fireworks” or other human induced trauma. Greater environmental problems pose much more of a risk in the long term, such as large-scale habitat destruction and climate change. And although nearly 30 “mass animal deaths” have been reported, there are certain questions we must ask ourselves as rational individuals: “What is the normal amount of large animal deaths per year?” or “Could climate change or another form of environmental strain be part of the problem?”
Scientists have stated that large mortality events in wildlife are by no means uncommon. Paul Slota, spokesman for the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center (which has been tracking mass animal deaths since the 1970s) says they have logged “188 cases just involving birds with mortality exceeding 1,000 animals per event” in the last 10 years.
Either way, information exchange in this day and age is far superior to what it was in the past and, simply put, some stories are just more captivating than others. Still, we can use these publicized incidents as a stimulator of awareness for the environment around us, and be on the look out for accurate information as it comes.