Virus Kills Millions of Crickets

Paralysis virus has disrupted supplies to pet shops across North America

PORT ALLEN, La. — A virus has killed millions of crickets raised to feed pet reptiles and those kept in zoos.

The cricket paralysis virus has disrupted supplies to pet shops across North America as a handful of operators have seen millions of their insects killed.

Some operations have gone bankrupt and others have closed indefinitely until they can rid their facilities of the virus.

Cricket farms started in the 1940s as a source of fish bait, but the bulk of sales now are to pet supply companies, reptile owners and zoos, although people also eat some.

Read moreVirus Kills Millions of Crickets

US: 49 of 50 States Hit By Snow Storms

Freezing: Only Florida, in the extreme southeast, has so far escaped snow fall as two storms cover virtually the whole of the U.S.

The U.S. is shivering in the grips of a freezing winter with 49 of its 50 states now having snow on the ground.

Two winter storms have dumped several inches of snow in some states and left flights grounded from Texas to the Carolinas.

Read moreUS: 49 of 50 States Hit By Snow Storms

Brazil: Floods Leave More Than 257 Dead – Update: Death Toll Jumps to 335

Update: Brazil flood death toll jumps to 335 (Telegraph)

At least 257 people have been killed and the death toll is likely to rise after heavy rains caused flooding and mudslides near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Three towns in the Serrana mountain region north of Rio were devastated as landslides destroyed homes, roads and power lines and buried families alive as they slept.

Teresopolis, 62 miles north of Rio, was the worst hit town with 130 deaths recorded after hillsides gave way and a river burst its banks following the equivalent of a month’s rainfall in 24 hours.

In Nova Friburgo 107 were killed, including three firemen buried by mudslides, while 20 people died in Petropolis, according to Brazil’s Globo News television channel.

Read moreBrazil: Floods Leave More Than 257 Dead – Update: Death Toll Jumps to 335

Sri Lanka: Flood Affects 1 Million People, 40,000 Acres Of Paddy Cultivation Already Damaged

Stormy weather forced President Mahinda Rajapaksa to cut short his tour of flood-affected areas on Wednesday as torrential rain continued to play havoc in parts of Sri Lanka, killed 18 people and affecting at least 960,000 more.

The Disaster management Centre said that 180,151 people were living in 453 centres for the displaced set up in affected districts. The government has appealed to the public to donate essentials including dry rations, mattresses, bed sheets and drinking water.

R.M.S. Bandara of the National Building Research Organisation told reporters that landslide warnings were issued in 10 districts including Matale, Badulla and Kandy.

What is worse is that the livelihood of the victims is likely to be affected with more than one third of the country’s paddy productions coming from the flooded districts. About 40,000 acres of paddy cultivation has already been damaged.

Because of incessant rain drinking water ponds have also been contaminated. In Colombo, prices vegetables have shot up because of supply shortage.

Read moreSri Lanka: Flood Affects 1 Million People, 40,000 Acres Of Paddy Cultivation Already Damaged

Australia: Graphic Video of Flood Chaos in Brisbane

Emergency sirens blared across Brisbane, Australia’s third-largest city, on Wednesday as floodwaters that have torn a deadly path across the northeast poured into an empty downtown, swamping neighbourhoods. At least 22 people have died and more than 40 are missing across Australia’s northeastern state of Queensland since drenching rains that began in November sent swollen rivers spilling over their banks, flooding an area larger than France and Germany combined.

Thousands of Fish Wash Up in Chicago and Hundreds of Birds Perish in California

Related articles:

Thousands of herring-type fish dead along Chicago lakefront (Reuters)

Another mass death: Thousands of gizzard shad fish have washed up on banks of Chicago’s harbours

Thousands of gizzard shad fish have been washed up on Chicago’s harbours while more than 100 dead birds have been found clustered on a California highway.

The two instances appear to be a continuation of the strange mass animal deaths that have struck in the past fortnight – in America and elsewhere.

However Lake Michigan Program biologist Dan Makauskas said that gizzard shad are not a very tough variety of fish and are more sensitive to drops in oxygen levels than most fish.

Mr Makauskas suggested that the young fish may not have built up enough reserves to withstand the early onslaught of extreme cold that hit the area.

Canada geese and mallard ducks have eaten many of the dead fish.

Meanwhile, California wildlife officials are attempting to work out what caused the death of more than 100 birds found clustered together just off Highway 101.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that California Highway Patrol officers found the dead birds near the roadway on Saturday and called in the state Department of Fish and Game to investigate.

The officers who found the birds described them as small with brown and black feathers.

They were intact and had not been shot.

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:44 AM on 12th January 2011

Full article: Daily Mail

US: Hundreds of Dead Blackbirds Found Along I-65 In Athens

And the explanations get better and better.

All the birds falling out of the sky had clear signs of trauma too.

About 300 dead blackbirds were found along I-65 in Athens on Wednesday morning. (Carson Clark, WHNT NEWS 19 / January 12, 2011)

ATHENS, AL — Wednesday morning, we got a handful of emails and phone calls from viewers who said there appeared to be a massive bird kill on the side of Interstate 65 in Limestone County. That’s exactly what we found when we got there.

Just south of Athens, near mile marker 347, there were around 300 dead blackbirds just off the side of the northbound lanes.

The viewers who called us said the birds seemed to just fall from the sky, but we spoke to a wildlife biologist at the scene who says there is an explanation for what happened.

“What it appears to us right now is that the birds were feeding alongside the road,” said Mitchell Marks. “The flock flushed, flew out into a vehicle and we’ve got this kill here along the road.”

All of the dead birds had clear signs of trauma, but Marks collected a few to examine them.

Read moreUS: Hundreds of Dead Blackbirds Found Along I-65 In Athens

Australian Floods Reach ‘Biblical Proportions’

Added: 3. Januar 2011

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Australia is experiencing one of the worst floods in the past 70 years. BBC says the flooding has reached ‘biblical proportions.’

“Even in a land as vast as Australia the scale of the flooding is hard to comprehend. In central Queensland, murky brown flood waters cover an area the size of Germany and France combined.”

Al Jazeera reports the residents of local towns don’t seem to have any miracles coming their way any time soon.

“The water has gone down, but the trouble we have here is that all the dams on every tributary are actually full. So if we were to another 200 millimeters of rain like we did on the night before the flood — things could turn nasty quite quickly.”

Read moreAustralian Floods Reach ‘Biblical Proportions’

Australia Floods: Dramatic Queensland Videos

Added: 10. Januar 2011

At least four are dead after flash floods swept through Toowoomba, carrying away cars and people.

Flash Flood in Queensland Australia Sweeps Cars Away

Added: 10. Januar 2011

Rapid flash flooding in Toowoomba, Queensland sweeps several cars downstream. The death toll is currently at 8 with 72 missing due to the ‘inland tsunami’. This flood is said to be a 1 in 100 year event. The damage bill of the flooding is currently over $5billion, but the human cost is what is more important.