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    Warm ocean temperatures blamed for the deaths of 2,300 birds in Chile

    NewsEnvironment & Nature NewsTuesday 15 May 2012
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    World Birds

    Thousands of dead birds have mysteriously appeared along the coastline of Chile.
    About 2,300 dead birds have been found on beaches between Playa de Santo Domingo and Cartagena.
    It follows the deaths of more than 5,000 marine birds on the Peruvian coast last week.
    According to CNN, most of the birds had broken wings and bruising on their bodies - which are injuries usually associated with getting trapped in fishing nets.
    The dead animals come from several different species.
    Officials in the South American country are now asking fishermen to help save any birds which are caught in nets.
    It is not unusual for birds to be killed from fishing nets - but normally in Chile only about 15 to 20 dead birds are found each year.
    It is believed that one of the reasons for the huge increase in dead birds is the climate. 
    Normally, as the weather in Chile gets colder at this time of year, birds would usually migrate north for warmth.
    But they are instead staying to eat anchovies and sardines which had fled the Peruvian coast.

    Scientist had claimed that the thousands of pelicans which perished on Peru's northern beaches died because of a heat wave.

    Investigators looking into the deaths of the 4,450 birds said hotter than usual ocean temperatures have driven anchovies deeper into the sea, beyond the reach of many young.

    Scientists in Peru are also studying the deaths of dolphins and porpoises from early February to mid-April, which they say still remains a mystery.

    Their inability to discover what had happened was due in part, they said, to the government's slowness in investigating.

    Up and down the coast, disoriented pelicans have been seen standing on beaches where they don't normally populate. Some have even been seen walking along coastal roadways.

    Beginning at the end of January, daily catches of about 5 tons of anchovies a day by fishermen in the northern region of Lambayeque dwindled after they began finding the small fish dead on the beach, said Fernando Nique, president of the Puerto Eten fishermen's association.

    Scientists say the dead pelicans are generally young, 3-4 years old, an age in which they do not dive as deep as their elders. Ocean temperatures in the region, said Bocanegra, are currently 6C above normal for this time of year, Peru's autumn.

    Similar pelican deaths happened in 1982-1983 and again in 1997-1998 when the El Nino meteorological phenomena warmed the ocean, Bocanegra said.

    'We saw mass deaths along Peru's entire coast, also associated with high sea temperatures. Pelicans, cormorants, Peruvian boobies and guanay cormorants died,' he said.

    The dolphin deaths, by contrast, remains a mystery.
     

    Source: Daily Mail


     

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