Animal Behavior, Methane Poisoning, Dead or Alive and on the move (+ interactive map)

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When Planet X entered the inner Solar System in late 2002 - early 2003, it was not just the Earth that reacted, as it did with an increase in earthquakes, volcanism and extreme weather, the animal life on Earth also started showing signs of the approaching monster.

The most noticeable symptoms were:

  • Crazy Animal Behaviour:  Reports of bizarre behaviour including animal attacks from normally passive creatures and spiders spinning webs over whole fields.
  • Confused Animals:  Whales and dolphins stranding themselves on beaches in droves or getting lost upstream in coastal rivers.
  • Large fish and bird kills:  Flocks of birds falling dead from the sky and shoals of fish dying and floating to the surface of lakes, rivers and washing up along coastlines.

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Crazy Animal Behaviour

Reports of crazy animal behaviour have included sheep that charged a farmer’s wife off a cliff, deer attacking a car and rabbits biting pedestrians.  Spiders have spun webs over whole fields and caterpillar larvae have covered whole trees in silk.

As usual, the Zetas explain the true causes:

http://www.zetatalk.com/transfor/t154.htm (Jan 11th 2003)

Animal behavior also has been noted as almost crazed, where animals normally passive and seeking to avoid confrontation will attack with provocation, or fly in the wrong direction during migration. This is due to signals the animals or insects get from the core of the Earth, signals not known to man, but nonetheless there.  [……]  Spiders weaving webs to an extreme so that acres are covered under webs, get noted, but the base behavior is normal for a spider.  EOZT

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Confused Animals

Other erratic behaviour among animals included a seeming loss of direction with whales and dolphins swimming inland and stranding themselves on beaches.

Unreliable Compasses  (March 28th, 2009)

The compass is unreliable for the past few years, and lately has gotten very extreme in its variance. Many animals and insects have a biological compass, recording during migrations where that compass laid, and when taking a return trip relying on the recording to guide them back. If the Earth's N Pole swings away from the press of Planet X, which is increasingly pointing its N Pole at the Earth, then these animals are not given correct clues and aim for land or up a river. Sad to say, this will only get worse as the last weeks and the pole shift loom on the horizon.   EOZT

Are due to the Magnetic Clash   (July 1st, 2006)

The compass anomaly, swinging to the East, is indicative of the Earth adjusting to the approach of Planet X and the clash of their magnetic fields. The change is indicative of a clash in magnetic fields as Planet X comes ever closer to the Earth, their fields touching. It is the combined field that Earth must adjust to, and continue to adjust to, not the exact position of the N Pole of Planet X within these fields, and the Sun's magnetic field enters into the equation too. This dramatic change, noted by a conscientious tracker, checking dual compasses daily for years, indicates that the Earth is trying to align side-by-side with Planet X, bringing its magnetic N Pole to point toward the Sun, as Planet X is currently doing in the main. These adjustments are temporary, and change about, as magnets can make dramatic and swift changes in their alignment with each other. Put a number of small magnets on a glass, with iron ore dust, and move a large magnet about under them, and watch the jerking about they do. Are we saying the Earth's magnetic field is going to get more erratic in the future, dramatically so? There is no question that this will be one of the signs that will come, yet another not covered by the Global Warming excuse.   EOZT

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Large fish and bird kills

Hundreds, if not thousands, of these events have taken place with the frequency increasing year on year.  Poignant examples include the 20 tonnes of dead herring which washed ashore in Norway and 1200 pelicans found on a beach in Peru.

Earth Farts  (January 9th, 2007)

We have explained, in great detail, that the stretch zone does not register great quakes when rock layers pull apart and sink, as this is a silent Earth change. Nancy has carefully documented breaking water and gas mains, derailing trains, dislocating bridge abutments, mining accidents, and outbreaks of factory explosions, showing that these have occurred in rashes on occasion, when the rock layers pulled apart. [……]  In September-October of 2005, a smell of rotten eggs was sensed from LA to Thunder Bay on Lake Superior to the New England states and throughout the South-Eastern US. We explained at that time that this was due to rock layers being pulled apart, releasing gas from moldering vegetation trapped during prior pole shifts, when rock layers were jerked about, trapping vegetation. We explained in March of 2002 that black water off the coast of Florida was caused by this phenomena. Do these fumes cause people to sicken, and birds to die? Mining operations of old had what they called the canary in a birdcage, to warn the miners of methane gas leaks. Birds are very sensitive to these fumes, and die, and this is indeed what happened in Austin, TX. Were it not for the explosions associated with gas leaks, it would be common knowledge that gas leaks sicken, as the body was not structured to breathe such air for long.   EOZT

 

Zetatalk Explanation  (January 8th, 2011)

Dead fish and birds falling from the sky are being reported worldwide, suddenly. This is not a local affair, obviously. Dead birds have been reported in Sweden and N America, and dead fish in N America, Brazil, and New Zealand. Methane is known to cause bird dead, and as methane rises when released during Earth shifting, will float upward through the flocks of birds above. But can this be the cause of dead fish? If birds are more sensitive than humans to methane release, fish are likewise sensitive to changes in the water, as anyone with an aquarium will attest. Those schools of fish caught in rising methane bubbles during sifting of rock layers beneath them will inevitably be affected. Fish cannot, for instance, hold their breath until the emergency passes! Nor do birds have such a mechanism.   EOZT

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Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on June 14, 2019 at 8:18pm

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/14/like-a-horror-film-va...

'Like a horror film': vast swarms of flies plague Russian villages

Local residents in Urals describe sweeping bucketfuls of dead flies from their homes

Villages in Russia’s Urals region have been invaded by vast swarms of flies that have sparked health concerns and fears for local harvests.

“You can’t hang out your washing to dry or open your windows, let alone go outside,” a woman in Lazorevy told state television, which aired images of thick clouds of flies crawling and buzzing through the village.

Another local was shown sweeping up piles of dead and dying flies from the floor of his home. “Every day or two there’s enough to fill a bucket, half a bucket,” he said. Residents described scenes as “like something from a horror film”.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on June 14, 2019 at 5:33pm

https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Sea-Turtles-Dying-at-Record-Rate-...

Sea Turtles Dying at Record Rate in Texas, Advocacy Group Says

June 13 2019

A record number of sea turtles are stranded along the Texas coastline at the height of sea turtle nesting season, a marine wildlife advocacy group says.

A total of 159 stranded sea turtles were recorded in April — the highest number of strandings in one month since monitoring began in 1980, according to Turtle Island Restoration Network. Strandings have continued at a rapid pace, with 186 turtles stranded through May 21. Most of the turtles were dead when they were discovered.

Among the dead were 68 Kemp's ridley sea turtles, the Texas state sea turtle and the world's most endangered sea turtle, the group said.

A stranded sea turtle is one found alive on land, or in the water that is dead, injured or exhibits any indication of ill health or abnormal behavior. According to Turtle Island Restoration Network, it is often difficult to determine why a turtle become stranded. In some cases, turtles have interacted with fishing vessels and are found with gill net wrapped around their flippers.

"We know turtles are drowning in illegal longline and gillnet fishing operations along the United States-Mexico border in southern Texas," Turtle Island Restoration Network Gulf Program Director Joanie Steinhaus said. "We need government agencies on both sides of the border to make this a priority. The reasons for stranding may be different in other areas like along the upper Texas coast, but the numbers are still alarming."

According to Turtle Island Restoration Network, shrimp trawling is one of the primary threats to sea turtle survival in the United States, including the Gulf of Mexico. Every year, the shrimp trawl fishery captures and kills thousands of sea turtles, including the critically endangered Kemp's ridley. Migration of the Kemp's ridleys in the shallow waters of the Gulf Coast coincides each year with shrimp fishing.

"Better law enforcement by both state and federal agencies is only part of the answer," Steinhaus said. "Another simple step that would save thousands of ridleys would be closing shrimping in state waters during the nesting season."

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on June 13, 2019 at 12:54am

https://www.breakingbelizenews.com/2019/06/12/fish-drown-in-sittee-...

Fish “drown” in Sittee River: DOE explains

Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019. 3:53 pm CST.

Today, the Department of the Environment (DOE) explained that the fish discovered floating dead in the Sittee River died from a lack of oxygen.

The DOE contacted Breaking Belize News (BBN) explaining that several samples of the water in the area were collected and tested, along with one of the dead fish found in the area. Based on the analysis, the DOE concluded that the water’s oxygen content was very low, and is suspected to be the cause for the phenomenon.

The DOE added that fertilizer in the water was one of the suspected causes for the low oxygen content; however, that suspicion was ruled out as the water’s nitrate levels did not indicate the presence of fertilizers.

The department believes that it was a combination of backed up biodegradable material in the water due to high tide and high water temperatures that gave rise to an increase in bacteria that depleted the oxygen in the water.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on June 9, 2019 at 2:30am

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/random-bird-deaths-cam...

New Brunswick

Birds are dying in Campbellton area and hunger could be cause

Birds have been flying into windows, cars and fences and then dying on lawns in the area

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on May 31, 2019 at 4:38am

https://nationalpost.com/news/world/they-just-keep-washing-in-scien...


'They just keep washing in': Scientists see evidence of climate change in deaths of thousands of seabirds in the Bering Sea

'They didn't get where they were going. They ran out of gas. They ran out of time'

May 30, 2019 10:14 AM EDT

For months beginning in October 2016, carcasses of tufted puffins turned up one after another on the shores of St. Paul Island, a tiny Alaskan outpost in the southern Bering Sea.

“It was very apparent that something strange was happening. They just keep washing in and washing in,” said Laura Divine, director of the Aleut Community of St. Paul Ecosystem Conservation Office, who helped oversee the collection of the birds. “Every person in our community knew something was wrong.”

The odd-looking seabirds – with their rounded heads, golden head plumes and distinctive bright orange bills – typically migrate south to warmer waters that late in the year, so having any puffins wash ashore was rare enough. But the arrival of hundreds of emaciated puffin carcasses, as well as of a second species known as the Crested auklet, alarmed and astonished local residents and scientists.

“Part of the mystery is what in the heck were those guys doing there? Why hadn’t they left? … That means there’s something going on in the system that’s not too good,” said Julia Parrish, a professor at the University of Washington who also runs a large citizen-science project known as the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team, or COASST. “We know month in and month out what is normal, what to expect.”

The mass die-off of the widely beloved birds off Alaska was anything but normal — even as it is one of a growing number of “mass mortality events” affecting seabirds in recent years.

Parrish and a group of colleagues used weather data to estimate that between 3,150 and 8,500 birds likely died, most likely from starvation. And in a paper published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE, the authors argue the die-off is at least partially attributable to the changing climate.

“This mortality event represents one of multiple seabird mortality events that have occurred in the Northeast Pacific from 2014 to 2018, cumulatively suggestive of broad-scale ecosystem change,” they write. Such episodes, they add, “are indicators of a changing world, and particularly of climate change.”

Tufted puffins breed in the Bering Sea off the Alaskan coast, feeding on various fish and marine invertebrates, which themselves rely on plankton for food. But several years of significant warming and a reduction in sea ice has resulted in troubling changes, such as the migration of certain “forage fish” such as capelin, juvenile Pollack and other energy-rich prey that puffins and other birds depend on to survive.

The authors suggest the climate-fueled shifts that likely affected the food supply, as well as the fact the birds were in molt – a process that replaces their feathers but also hinders their ability to fly – ultimately doomed the puffins that washed ashore on St. Paul Island.

“They didn’t get where they were going,” Parrish said. “They ran out of gas. They ran out of time.”

Similar circumstances appear to have fueled an unprecedented die-off of Common Murres – a thin-billed sea bird – between 2015 and into early 2016 off Alaska and other parts of the U.S. Pacific coast. The following year, another seabird die-off happened in the Bering and Chukchi seas of Alaska and Russia, affecting Northern Fulmars, Short-tailed Shearwaters and other species.

In fact, 2018 marked the third year in a row that scientists documented “massive” seabird die-offs, according to the National Park Service.

“Seabirds are good indicators of ocean ecosystem health. Recent mortality events are concerning in that they may be pointing to significant changes in marine ecosystems,” the agency wrote in an update late last year.

As recently as this month, dead and dying Common Murres have been reported along the Mendocino County coastline in California, though the cause of that die-off remains undetermined.

“We are now just bracing for what is going to wash in next,” Divine said. “It’s kind of terrifying.”

Such episodes have also unfolded elsewhere in the world in recent years.

In the Gulf of Maine, puffins have been found dying of starvation and losing body weight – although scientists there have helped aid breeding in an effort to boost populations. Across the Atlantic, puffin populations also have been in decline, partly due to human factors such as hunting, but also, scientists say, because of changes to food supplies.

Wednesday’s study also comes on the heels of a United Nations report earlier this month, which found that roughly one million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction, with alarming implications for human survival. That report by seven lead co-authors from universities across the world goes further than previous studies by directly linking the loss of species to human activity. It also detailed how those losses are undermining food and water security, as well as human health.

Parrish acknowledged that many questions remain about precisely what led to the puffin die-off in 2016, as well as others documented before and since.

“People often think you can point to climate change the way you can point to a person with a gun who had just shot somebody,” she said.

The reality, she said, isn’t so simple when it comes to figuring out all the forces shaping a complex ecosystem such as the Bering Sea. But she said that each die-off offers clues that significant changes are underway, and that more troubling patterns might lie ahead.

“Each one of those is like a bell going off,” she said. “And there’s been a lot of ringing lately.”

Comment by SongStar101 on May 28, 2019 at 8:03pm

Major die-off of Common Murres under way along the Mendocino Coast, CA

https://www.advocate-news.com/2019/05/24/major-die-off-of-common-mu...

Starting on Wednesday, May 22, hundreds of Common Murres, an ocean-going bird native to the Pacific Coast from the Channel Islands to the tip of the Aleutians in Alaska, have been reported washed up dead or dying on beaches along a 10-mile stretch of coastline in Mendocino County between Noyo Bay and Seaside Beach.

Local wildlife observers say it’s too early to tell what is causing the die-off.


Sarah Grimes – Contributed Hundreds of dead and dying Common Murres, including those pictured here at MacKerricher State Park May 23, are washing up on Mendocino County beaches.

The Common Murre looks a little like a penguin, but is more closely related to terns or gulls. It spends most of its time in the water. Murres can and do fly, but like penguins, they maneuver best in the water. Normally, the likelihood of a casual beachgoer seeing one ashore is slim.

More than 300 found

But more than 300 Murres have been counted over the past two days washed up on local beaches. On Wednesday, May 22, a beach walker at MacKerricher State Park called Sarah Grimes, who works with the Noyo Center for Marine Science under a grant from the California Academy of Scientists.

The man told Grimes he had counted 65 dead birds near his home in Inglenook. Grimes investigated and counted another 65 birds in the Ward Avenue area. She then reported the discovery to the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), a program run out of the University of Washington that trains local volunteers to survey beaches at least once a month and count and tag dead seabirds.

COASST put out a call to their volunteers on Wednesday night to mobilize for a “wreck,” the term bird surveyors use to describe a mass mortality event. By 8 a.m., May 24, Grimes reported the count at 300 birds, primarily between Noyo Harbor and Seaside Beach.

Probably just a fraction

“The carcasses that wash ashore are a small fraction of the dead birds,” said Prof. Julia Parrish, the executive director of COASST and associate dean of the College of the Environment at the University of Washington. “It could be 10 percent to 20 percent, depending on wave action and scavenger activity.”

COASST and other volunteers, along with California State Parks personnel, are continuing the count, and the number of carcasses could rise.

According to Grimes, it’s not clear what has caused the die-off. Murre die-offs in Alaska in recent years happened in fall and winter, and were tentatively attributed to disruptions in the food chain, with birds found emaciated.

Recent rains along the Mendocino Coast, Parrish said, could be a factor but are unlikely to be the sole cause.

“Murres are in the middle of their breeding season. They lay their eggs on high rocks above the wave line. They live their life on the open seas and are pretty scrappy,” Parrish said. “Typically, you would find one dead carcass per kilometer this time of year. It’s doubly alarming because this is the wrong time of year and the wrong species to be washing up on shore.”

Volunteers overwhelmed

Grimes said she has seen the birds walking out of the water and perishing. Rescue teams have been unsuccessful in transporting the birds to the Humboldt Wildlife center as they are dying within an hour of collection.

Because the carcass numbers are so high, COASST volunteers are clipping wings to ensure birds are not counted twice. Typically, volunteers document each carcass and tag it, but there is no time for the normal process now.

Grimes, who also volunteers at COASST and the Audubon Society, has collected six birds and frozen them. They will be shipped to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a necropsy which, it is hoped, will shed light on the cause of the die-off.


Sarah Grimes – Contributed Common Murres collected on the beach this week at MacKerricher State Park.

“Seabirds have robust plumage to protect them from the cold and to seal a layer of air next to their bodies. This keeps them warm and dry. When birds are sick, they lose this ability and could be walking out of the water to get away from the cold,” Grimes said.

She added that one of the birds she collected still had an egg intact, highlighting that this is breeding season, which typically runs from late May through June.

Unanswered questions

According to Terra Fuller, Senior Environmental Scientist for the California State Parks Coastal Region, the Common Murres that are washing up on Mendocino Beaches could be from an established colony off the Mendocino Headlands. The Headlands is part of the Coastal National Monument and under Bureau of Land Management jurisdiction. BLM did not immediately respond to an inquiry whether it knows if the birds are from that colony, and if the colony is being monitored.

“The lack of northwest wind in May reduced upwelling and the cold water that feeds the ecosystem,” Fuller said, noting that any explanation of causes now is speculative. “The birds, which typically feed well offshore, may have moved their feeding closer to shore where the upwelling was still in effect. If that is the case, they may have been caught in the storm.”

Fuller went on to say that Parrish and COASST are the experts on collecting data and determining cause.

COASST conducts surveys from Elk in Mendocino County to the Canadian border. Beach Watch surveys the coast from Elk to Monterey. COASST has been in contact with Beach Watch and they have not found an unusual number of dead birds in their area, indicating the die-off is concentrated in Mendocino County at this time.

Among the many questions raised: is this die-off tied to El Niño, climate change, deforestation of the kelp or warm waters off the coast? Is there a toxic algae bloom; did the birds eat fish that were full of toxins?

According to Grimes and Parrish, it is too soon to know and only time and testing will shed light on the death of Common Murres in Mendocino County.


Sarah Grimes – ContributedCOASST volunteer Randi Roberts is helping track the extent of the die-off.
Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on May 23, 2019 at 9:49pm

https://www.coastalreview.org/2019/05/lower-neuse-river-seeing-dist...

 Lower Neuse River Seeing Distressed Fish

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Division of Water Resources is currently investigating the numerous dead or dying fish found recently in the lower portion of the Neuse River, the state Department of Environmental Quality announced Thursday.

A photo from the state Division of Marine Fisherie shows a 2018 fish kill in 2018 on the Neuse River between Flanners Beach and Slocum Creek. Photo: Lower Neuse Riverkeeper Facebook

Staff observed the numerous dead or dying menhaden with 3- to 5-inch-long severe lesions during the past several days in the Neuse River from Flanners Beach to Carolina Pines. Dead fish may continue to surface in the area over the coming days and holiday weekend.

Staff and other scientists are are working to analyze the fish to learn the cause, which does not appear to be water quality parameters, such as dissolved oxygen, according to the release. Conditions will continue to be monitored and updates will be provided when information is available.

The public is being advised to avoid contact with water where the distressed fish are being observed.

The state Department of Health and Human Services recommends not going in the water while these conditions exist; do not eat, use or collect any fish, crabs, other animals or items from these waters; and do not let pets swim in or eat fish from these waters.

If you come in contact with the water where fish or shellfish are dead, dying, appear sick or have sores take the following precautions:

  • Remove wet clothing and keep it separate from other items until it has been washed.
  • Wash any body part, except the eyes, that comes into contact with the waters, using soap and clean water. Rinse eyes with lots of clear, clean water.
  • Use waterproof gloves when handling pets and items that have come into contact with the waters.
  • See your doctor or health provider if you experience any symptoms such as confusion, vomiting, diarrhea or skin rash that might be caused by exposure to these waters.

Residents can use the DEQ fish kill app to report fish kills to DEQ staff for investigation. A map of all fish kill events occurring in 2019 is on the Division of Water Resources’ website.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on May 3, 2019 at 5:05am

https://philnews.ph/2019/05/02/thousands-dead-danggit-fish-found-za...

Thousands of Dead Danggit Fish Found in Zamboanga

11:23 AM May 2, 2019

Dead Danggit Fish Found in Coastal Areas of Zamboanga

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) would investigate the thousands of dead Danggit fish found in the coastal area of Zamboanga.

On Wednesday afternoon (May 1, 2019), the authorities spotted thousands of dead Danggit fish floating along the waters of R.T. Lim Boulevard.

Mayor Beng Climaco advised the public to refrain from swimming or picking dead fish in the area due to the incident.

Climaco together with City Agriculturist Carmencita Sanchez and OCENR head Engr. Rey Gonzales proceed to R.T. Lim Boulevard after discovering the mysterious fish kill.

BFAR Charlie Repana gathered samples of waters and fish for laboratory tests to determine the mysterious cause of death of Danggit fish in the area.

The Zamboanga Mayor also urged the residents to report such incidents and not consume the dead fish along the coasts.

The agency also concluded that the dry spell and sudden rain produced dissolved oxygen level concentration caused the Zambo fish kill but they would still wait for the lab test results.

Comment by jorge namour on April 29, 2019 at 7:14pm

Beetles invade Israel, but ministry says let them be

APRIL 29 2019

All together now: Swarms of big, black and annoying — but harmless — Calosoma olivieri beetles are infesting Israel

https://www.timesofisrael.com/beetles-invade-israel-but-ministry-sa...

The Calosoma olivieri beetle

Hordes of large black beetles have invaded Israel, descending upon homes and leaving a foul stench in their wake.

The Environmental Protection Ministry confirmed Monday that the bugs are being found in large quantities in many communities around the country.

Dr. Leibele Friedman of Tel Aviv University identified the creatures as the common Calosoma olivieri, which grow up to 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) in length, a ministry statement said.

The insects tend to arrive in urban areas in the evening and after landing on the ground, search for a hiding place and usually die within a few hours.

The pestilence, which comes on the heels of a much less icky butterfly migration, is expected to end soon as the weather turns hotter after a particularly rainy winter.

There have also been reports of large quantities of moths invading areas.

https://www.facebook.com/wazcam/photos/a.1081759211918409/243650572...

After the invasion of areas in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, the arrival of black cockroaches to the city of Jerusalem, where the worshipers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque noticed its presence in the courtyard.
This insect is called black grasshoppers or so-called night-time insects from migratory insects. The night's noise sounds annoying during the night, due to the friction of its wide wings together, and people are often disturbed by hearing it.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on April 25, 2019 at 4:10am

https://www.nwnewsnetwork.org/post/why-are-gray-whales-washing-dead...

Why are gray whales washing up dead on Pacific Northwest beaches?

April 24 2019

Responders examine a malnourished adult gray whale on April 15, 2019 after it was towed to a remote beach after initially being found floating near downtown Seattle.
Cascadia Research Collective

An unusually large number of gray whales are washing up dead on their northbound migration past the Oregon and Washington coasts this year.

The peak stranding time for gray whales in the Pacific Northwest is normally April, May and June. But the federal agency NOAA Fisheries has already logged nine dead whales washed ashore in Washington and one in Oregon. That's on top of 21 strandings on California beaches since the beginning of the year.

There were a total of 25 dead gray whale strandings West Coast-wide in all of 2018.

One 39-foot long dead adult whale was found floating in Elliott Bay last week, right in front of downtown Seattle.

"This is looking like it is going to be a big year for gray whale strandings," said Jessie Huggins, stranding coordinator for the Olympia-based Cascadia Research Collective.

Since February, Huggins has participated in necropsies of malnourished, mostly adult, gray whales on Whidbey Island and the Key Peninsula to Ocean Shores and Long Beach, Washington.

"We're seeing very thin whales with little to no food in their stomachs," Huggins said in an interview Wednesday. "This is kind of leading us to believe that this is an issue of nutritional stress with a few normal-type strandings mixed in."

Huggins said these whales probably didn't get fat enough on their summer feeding grounds in Alaskan waters way back last year.

Responders in raingear and elbow-high rubber gloves cut into the massive carcasses to examine the animals' fat reserves and internal organs. Multiple whales exhibited dry fibrous blubber. The responders noted ribcages and vertebra sticking out, measured healed scars and took tissue samples for later analysis for contaminants.

Despite the unusual number of dead whales found, NOAA Fisheries spokesman Michael Milstein said the overall population of gray whales is fine, "probably as big as it's ever been" in modern times.

Eastern Pacific gray whales were taken off the endangered species list in 1994. The population is now estimated at 27,000, which may be around the carrying capacity of their ocean territory.

"They've been coming back strong," said Milstein by telephone from Portland Wednesday.

Gray whale and humpback whale casualties from entanglement in commercial and tribal fishing gear have been a growing concern for federal officials, certain environmental groups and the fishing industry lately. None of dead gray whales found this spring on Oregon and Washington beaches were entangled in fishing or crabbing lines, however.

Crabbers and fishing boat owners are scheduled to meet with researchers and government representatives when two separate work groups convene next month along the Oregon and Washington coasts to hear updates about entanglement risk reduction strategies.

Sometimes it takes a village to examine and pull samples from a decomposing whale. Huggins said she has worked alongside colleagues this winter and spring from Portland State University, Seattle Pacific University, the nonprofit SR3, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and World Vets.

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