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The terrifying phenomenon that is pushing species towards extinction

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There was almost something biblical about the scene of devastation that lay before Richard Kock as he stood in the wilderness of the Kazakhstan steppe. Dotted across the grassy plain, as far as the eye could see, were the corpses of thousands upon thousands of saiga antelopes. All appeared to have fallen where they were feeding. Some were mothers that had travelled to this remote wilderness for the annual calving season, while others were their offspring, just a few days old. Each had died in just a few hours from blood poisoning. In the 30C heat of a May day, the air around each of the rotting hulks was thick with flies. The same grisly story has been replayed throughout Kazakhstan. In this springtime massacre, an estimated 200,000 critically endangered saiga – around 60% of the world’s population – died. “All the carcasses in this one of many killing zones were spread evenly over 20 sq km,” says Kock, professor of wildlife health and emerging diseases at the Royal Veterinary College in London. “The pattern was strange. They were either grazing normally with their newborn calves or dying where they stood, as if a switch had been turned on. I’ve never seen anything like that.”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/25/mass-mortality-events-animal-conservation-climate-change

Posted by on Feb 27 2018. Filed under Climate change, News Worldwide. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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