Monday, March 2, 2015

MONUMENTAL DELUGE: Widespread Flooding – The Latest Reports Of High Tides, Heavy Rainfall, Flash Floods, Sea Level Rise, And Catastrophic Storms!

March 2, 2015 - EARTH - The following list constitutes the latest reports of high tides, heavy rainfall, flash floods, widespread flooding, sea level rise and catastrophic storms.

Madagascar Floods – 19 Dead and 37,000 Displaced

The flood situation in Madagascar is worsening. The latest report from Madagascar’s disaster management agency, the Bureau National de Gestion des Risques et des Catastrophes (BNGRC) said that further assessments of the flood disaster that struck on 26 February show that 19 people have been killed, 36,956 have been displaced and over 60,000 affected by the disaster.

517 houses have been destroyed and 1,698 damaged in the floods. BNGRC also report that the floods have damaged 6,339 hectares of rice fields.

Three regions of the country have been affected. Over 2,000 people have been displaced in Alaotra Mangoro region. The worst affected region is Analamanga where 18 of the deaths occurred, many of them around the country’s capital, Antananarivo. The remaining fatality occurred in Vakinankaratra region.

High Alerts

BNGRC issued a list of around 20 districts or communities still on high alert as of 01 March 2015.

Antananarivo Renivohitra, Masindray, Ambohimanambola, Alasora, Ankaraobato, Tanjombato, Soavina, Anosizato-Andrefana, Andranonahoatra, Bemasoandro, Ambohidrapeto, Ankadimanga, Ampitatafika, Fenoarivo, Itaosy, Ambohitrimanjaka, Antehiroka, Talatamaty, Sabotsy Namehana and Ankadikely Ilafy.

River Levels

However, there is hope for some relief ahead, as levels of the Ikopa and Sisaony rivers are expected to fall in the next 24 hours so long as there is no further heavy rainfall.

More Rain

Yesterday did see some heavy rain fall in northern parts of the country. Antalaha in the Sava Region saw 53 mm of rain in 24 hours to 01 March 2015, according to WMO.

Floods Return to Jakarta

Parts of Jakarta, Indonesia, were once again under water on 28 February 2015, just 2 weeks after severe flooding forced thousands to evacuate their homes.

Jakarta’s Disaster Mitigation Office (BPBD) said this time there have been no evacuations, although a number of houses have been flooded in Kampung Pulo, East Jakarta. Flood water was reported to be as high as 150cm in some areas after heavy rain had increased levels of the Ciliwung River.

Kampung Pulo, East Jakarta, floods 28 February 2015. Photo: BPBD Jakarta

Flooding has also been reported in Bukit Duri, Tebet, South Jakarta.

Bukit Duri, South Jakarta, floods 28 February 2015. Photo: BPBD Jakarta

Rainfall Figures

The heaviest of the rain fell in the hills around Bogor and Puncak, catchment areas for some of Jakarta’s many rivers. According to WMO, 62.1mm of rain fell in 24 hours in Bogor to 01 March 2015. Bogor is around 50 km (30 miles) south of Jakarta.

Over the last 24 hours, other parts of Java and Indonesia have also seen some heavy rainfall. In Cirebo, Java, 75 mm of rain fell in 24 hours to 02 March 2015, according to WMO figures. In South Sulawesi, Makassar saw 76.1 mm of rain during the same period.

More Floods in Malawi as Cholera Spreads in Camps for Flood Victims

Further flooding has hit southern parts of Malawi, while 39 cases of cholera have been reported in the camps set up for the victims of the flooding that hit the country in January 2015.

According to Malawi’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), floods have struck once again in the southern districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje after heavy rain in the southern Region.

Rising River Levels and Calls for Evacuation

In a statement made on 27 February 2015, Paul Chiunguzeni, secretary of the DoDMA, said water levels in Shire River, Mwanza River and all other waters bodies in the areas continue to rise. He continued:

“As a result of these developments, The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) wishes to appeal to the people in the affected areas to leave all low lying areas and move upland. Those that are already in upland areas must remain there at all cost. In the same vein, the people are being advised against crossing rivers and streams because doing so is a life threatening risk.”

Cholera Outbreak

Meanwhile in the camps for the 230,000 already displaced by the floods in January, there has been an outbreak of cholera. Two people have died and 39 cases of the disease have been reported, according to UNICEF. These are the first cases of cholera seen in the country for over 3 years.

Cholera outbreaks often follow after flood disasters, where drinking water becomes contaminated by flood water.

There has also been an outbreak of cholera in neighbouring flood hit Mozambique, where 37 people have died from the disease.

UNICEF Representative in Malawi, Mahimbo Mdoe said:

“As humanitarian actors in Malawi, we need to move quickly to stop any further spread of this disease. These displaced populations are extremely vulnerable, particularly those with low-immunity, such as malnourished children.

UNICEF is working to support the Government with mobile health services, as well as safe water, sanitation and hygiene services, which are critical factors in preventing the spread of cholera.”

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Plane Crash At Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge In Palm Beach County, Florida - Unknown How Many People Were On Board!

An aircraft crashed in the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge Monday.

- A small plane crashed in the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Palm Beach County Monday, officials said.

The single-engine plane went down just before 1 p.m. in a marsh area near Lee Road and State Road 7 in Boynton Beach, according to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.

PBCFR Tweeted at around 1:15 p.m. that a plane went down at that location, and that Palm Beach County Sheriff officials responded.

Footage showed firefighters at the scene spraying water on the wreckage. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials were also at the scene.

The FAA and NTSB have been notified, fire rescue officials said.

It's unknown how many people were on board. No further details were immediately available. - NBC Miami.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: The Ebola Outbreak - Sierra Leone Vice President Places Himself In 21-Day Quarantine, After His Bodyguards Died From The Deadly Virus; Recent Surge In Infections In The Country!

Ebola health care workers carry the body of a middle aged man that they suspected of dying from the Ebola.

March 2, 2015 - SIERRA LEONE
- Sierra Leone's Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana said on Saturday that he had placed himself in a 21-day quarantine after one of his bodyguards died of Ebola amid a worrying recent surge in new infections in the West African nation.

Cases of Ebola, which has killed nearly 10,000 people in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea during a year-long epidemic, have fallen off sharply in recent weeks.

Of 99 new confirmed Ebola cases in the region during the week to Feb. 22, however, 63 were in Sierra Leone according to the World Health Organization's weekly report.

Sam-Sumana's bodyguard John Koroma died early this week.

"I have decided to be put under quarantine because I do not want to take chances and I want to lead by example," the vice president told Reuters. "I am very well and showing no signs of illness."

Sam-Sumana said his entire staff will also be placed under observation and anyone showing symptoms of the disease would be tested.

The vice president is the country's first senior government figure to subject himself to a voluntary quarantine. However, officials in neighboring Liberia, including the chief medical officer and transport minister, were placed under observation late last year.

Faced with a wave of new infections, particularly in the capital Freetown and some districts in the north, the government reintroduced a number of restrictions that had been lifted earlier this year as the epidemic appeared to ease.

A statement from President Ernest Bai Koroma's office late on Friday ordered public transport operators to reduce capacity by 25 percent to limit physical contact between passengers.

The government also placed a night-time curfew on unloading goods from commercial vehicles and limited the movements of water transport. - Reuters.

Tracking the EBOLA Virus Outbreak

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Car Collides With Trailer In Trelawny, Jamaica - Four People Killed; Results In Major Pile Up Of Traffic!

The mangled remains of a Toyota Yaris motorcar that met in an accident along the Braco main road in Trelawny this morning.

March 2, 2015 - JAMAICA
- Four persons were killed this morning along the Braco main road in Trelawny when the motorcar in which they were travelling crashed into a tractor trailer heading in the opposite direction.

When The Gleaner arrived at the scene of the accident, the four bodies - all males - were still in the mangled wreckage of the Toyota Yaris motorcar in which they were travelling.

They were reportedly heading in the direction of St Ann.

The condition of the tractor trailer driver is unknown.

The accident has resulted in a major pile up of traffic along the normally business roadway as the police and medical personnel converged on the scene to offer assistance to victims of the accident

While The Gleaner was able to ascertain that there were only four persons in the motorcar, it is unclear as to how many persons were travelling in the trailer.

The stretch of roadway, along which the accident took place, is a renowned black spot and the police regularly issues releases warning motorists to drive cautiously in the area which forms part of the North Coast Highway. - Jamaica Gleaner.

MASS BIRD DIE-OFF: Birds Dropping From The Sky By The Dozens In Maury County, Tennessee - Officials On The Scene Say They Have Never Seen Anything Like This Before?!

- Dozens of birds drop dead out of the sky in Maury County at the same time.

A local pizza delivery driver says he has something to do with the fifty or so birds that turned up dead off North Field Lane Saturday.

Russell Thomas contacted FOX17 after our story first aired.

Thomas says the birds were flying low and swooped in and bombed his brand new white KIA.

He said there is minor damage to his car.

Police turned the case over to the TWRA. Police and wildlife officials are on scene are working to get answers as to how and why this happened.

They are monitoring the area, bagging birds and taking samples for testing.

WATCH: Birds drop dead in Maury County.

One witness says the birds were split open from the fall.

Officials on scene say they have never seen anything like this. It is unknown what type of birds these are, but they all seem to be the same kind. - FOX17.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Fallen 50-TONNE Rock Blocks Main Mountain Road Near Moutiers, France!

Holidaymakers were trapped in the French Alps after a giant 50-tonne boulder blocked a main mountain

March 2,  2015 - FRANCE
- Thousands of British holidaymakers were trapped in the French Alps after a giant 50-tonne boulder blocked a main mountain road.

Falling rocks cut off popular resorts Val Thorens, Les Menuires and St Martin and ski enthusiasts were left stranded in a 50-mile tailback.

Holiday coaches were stopped from entering and leaving the resorts in the Tarentaise Valley after authorities ruled the N117 road was too dangerous for large vehicles to use on Friday morning.

Tourists took to social media to vent their frustration at being stranded after the rockslide.

Mike Parkes ‏tweeted: 'Delay getting out of Alps due to 100 tonne boulder that has decided to fall into the road! #annoying This never happens to #judithchalmers.'

Claire Zillman ‏said: '1st for everything: 'a boulder cracked the road so there's no traveling in or out of this village. Skiing in Alps was spectacular until now.'

WATCH: Giant rock slide in France blocks access to popular ski resorts.

Tour operators are planning to hire a fleet of minibuses so holidaymakers due to return home yesterday can be taken to their departing flights today.

Hundreds of Britons on their way to the region were accommodated in the nearby town of Albertville.

Crystal Ski Holidays, one of the British travel firms affected, said it arranged overnight accommodation for 500 UK holidaymakers arriving at Chambery and Geneva airports. - Daily Mail.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Saudi Arabia Reports 12 More Deaths From The MERS Virus!

A foreign woman wears a mouth and nose mask as she leaves a local hospital's emergency department, in this April 22, 2014 photograph,
in the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah. Photo - AFP Files

March 2, 2015 - SAUDI ARABIA
- Ten more people in Saudi Arabia have died from MERS over the past week, health ministry figures showed on Friday, after an international mission urged extra measures to combat the virus.

Saudi Arabia is the country worst-hit by Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

The latest deaths occurred between February 20 and 26, adding to a surge of cases which has killed 27 people since the start of the month.

Doctor Abdul Aziz bin Saeed, who heads the centre coordinating the ministry's response to MERS, warned in early February that a rise in cases typically occurs around this time of year, when there are more juvenile camels circulating.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has cited the preliminary results of studies indicating that people working with camels are at increased risk of infection from MERS-CoV, and young camels are particularly susceptible.

But representatives of the WHO and other UN agencies who concluded a visit to the kingdom this week said there was an urgent need for greater understanding of the "animal/human interface".

"There are so many aspects of the virus that are still unknown," said Berhe Tekola, of the Food and Agriculture Organization.

The mission urged "improving disease prevention, especially in health facilities that continue to experience avoidable infections".

Saudi Arabia has implemented a public education campaign about MERS but the statement said "efforts to educate professionals and the public are urgently needed."

According to health ministry figures, a total of 916 people have been infected with MERS since it was first identified in the kingdom in 2012. Of those, 392 have died.

More than 20 countries have been affected by the virus but most cases have been linked to the Middle East.
- Times of Oman.

MERS claims 2 more lives

The Ministry of Health announced on Friday that the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) had claimed two more lives. The people who died were two Saudi men aged 84 and 51, from Queiyah and Hofuf. They were non-medical personnel and had pre-existing illnesses.

There were no infections recorded in the 24 hours up until Friday noon.

The ministry had announced three deaths on Thursday, two in Makkah and one in Riyadh, with three people infected from Alkhobar, Al-Jouf and Riyadh.

Since June 2012, there have been 916 MERS cases, with 394 deaths. Five hundred patients have been cured, with 21 under treatment at hospitals, and one person isolated at home, according to the ministry's website.

Meanwhile, King Saud University closed down its emergency section temporarily on Thursday as a precautionary measure on fears that an infected person may have turned up at its medical facility.
In a statement published in a local daily, Abdulrahman Al-Muammar, executive director of the KSU medical facility, said a 90-year-old Saudi woman, who had sought treatment for bleeding in her bowel, was suspected to have the virus.

"The person was transferred to the Prince Muhammed bin Abdulaziz Hospital in the east of Riyadh for observation. The hospital, which is maintained by the ministry of health, runs an isolation ward for patients infected with the virus."

As a precautionary measure, the authorities at the medical city disinfected its emergency department. All the patients and health staff in the section were tested and found negative.

Al-Muammar said that the hospital had dealt with four cases of people infected with the virus during the current year. - Zawya.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: "This Past Season Was Not Like The Others" - Noctilucent Clouds, Behaving Strangely; A Sensitive Indicator Of Long-Range Teleconnections In Earth's Atmosphere?!

March 2, 2015 - EARTH
- The southern season for noctilucent clouds (NLCs) has come to an end. NASA's AIM spacecraft observed the last wisps of electric-blue over Antarctica on Feb. 20, 2015. The end of the season was no surprise: The polar clouds always subside in late summer. Looking back over the entire season, however, reveals something unexpected. In an 8-year plot of Antarctic noctilucent cloud frequencies, the 2014-2015 season is clearly different from the rest:

© SpaceWeather

These data come from the AIM spacecraft, which was launched in 2007 to monitor NLCs from Earth orbit. The curves show the abundance ("frequency") of the clouds vs. time for 120 days around every southern summer solstice for the past 8 years.

"This past season was not like the others," notes Cora Randall, a member of the AIM science team and the chair of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado. "The clouds were much more variable, and there was an enormous decrease in cloud frequency 15 to 25 days after the summer solstice. That's when the clouds are usually most abundant."

What does this mean? Previous research shows that NLCs are a sensitive indicator of long-range teleconnections in Earth's atmosphere, which link weather and climate across hemispheres. The strange behavior of noctilucent clouds in 2014-2015 could be a sign of previously unknown linkages. "Preliminary indications are that it is indeed due to inter-hemispheric teleconnections," says Randall. "We're still analyzing the data, so stay tuned."

Now attention turns to the northern hemisphere, where the season for NLCs typically begins in May. Will the northern season ahead be as strangely variable as the southern season, just concluded? Says Randall, "I can't wait to find out."

Boosting the chances of auroras even more is a high-speed solar wind stream waiting on the other side of the heliospheric current sheet. The wind is flowing from a coronal hole on the sun, shown in this extreme UV image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory:

© SpaceWeather

Coronal holes are places in the sun's atmosphere where the sun's magnetic field opens up, allowing hot gas to escape. In the image, above, the magnetic field is traced by curved white lines. Arrows show where the solar wind is escaping along open field lines. Forecasters expect the gassy stream to reach Earth on Feb. 28-March 1. Keep an eye on the realtime photo gallery for aurora sightings this weekend. - Space Weather.

ICE AGE NOW: Magnetic Polar Migration Creating Weather Anomalies Across The Planet - Record Low February Temperature Set In Cuba?!

Cubans bundle up against a record low temperature in Havana

March 2, 2015 - CUBA
- The Cuban Institute of Meteorology reported that early Friday morning it registered a temperature of one degree Celsius (33.8oF) in the town of Union Reyes, in western Matanzas province, the lowest temperature ever recorded in Cuba for the month of February.

This temperature was due to the strong influence of a very dry mass of cold air of arctic origin, in combination with low clouds in the interior of the western and central regions, which favoured heat radiation at night and caused again another remarkably cold dawn in parts of the interior of much of the country

There were several areas with less than 10 degrees Celsius (50oF) in Cuba's western provinces. In the rest of the country the minimum temperatures were between 11 and 15 degrees Celsius, higher in coastal areas.

The previous record in Union de Reyes was set on February 18, 1996, at 2.5 degrees. The absolute record in the town for any month of the year was also one degree, and happened on January 21, 1971.  - Caribbean News Now.

DISASTER PRECURSORS: Omen – The Latest Incidents Of Strange Animal Behavior, Mass Animal Die-Offs, Appearance Of Rare Creatures And Warnings From Mother Nature!

March 2, 2015 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports of unusual and symbolic animal behavior, mass die-offs, beaching and stranding of mammals, and the appearance of rare creatures.

Dead whale found washed ashore at Cuddalore, India

The carcass of the beached whale at Pettodai near Periyakuppam in Cuddalore on Thursday.

The carcass of a 30-foot-long whale washed ashore at Pettodai near Periyakuppam on Thursday evening.

A group of fishermen spotted the carcass near the shore at around 6 p.m. and alerted the Forest Department.

News about the dead whale spread like wildfire and people gathered in large numbers to get a view of the mammal.

"The whale had a length of 9 metres and weighed nearly five tonnes. A post-mortem examination alone can reveal reasons behind the death and how it was swept to the shore. The whale might have been hit by a barge or a ship passing through the coast," Sundaramurthy, Cuddalore Range Forest officer said.

The carcass was found stuck in the sand and an earthmover was engaged to retrieve it.

It was later buried in a pit on the shore by the Forest Department.

Last month, a male dolphin beached at the Solai Nagar coast in Puducherry. The dolphin died after efforts to rescue it failed. - The Hindu.

Massive fish die off in fish farms in the east of Singapore

Several fish farmers in the East saw large stocks of their fish wiped out early Saturday (Feb 28) morning after the coast was hit by a tide containing huge plankton blooms.

When this happens fish have to compete with the micro-organisms for oxygen, which could cause them to die.

Philip Lim, who owns three fish farms, said: "It's huge. It'll cost me about S$50,000. All the fishes have come in just about three months ago, some of them just came in one month ago."

Mr Lim sent Channel NewsAsia videos of the scene on Saturday, saying his entire stock of fish was either dead or dying.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) had said in a statement on Friday that it would monitor the situation, and work closely with the fish farmers to mitigate the issue.

It had warned the farmers early last week after detecting elevated plankton levels in the area, said AVA.

Dead fish due to red tide at a Pasir Ris fish farm. (Photo: Frank Tan, Marine Life Aquaculture)

AVA has also deployed waste disposal vessels to assist farmers in the disposal of dead fish at the East Johor Straits caused by the elevated plankton levels.

On Feb 18, coastal fish farms at the Straits reported dead fish in the area. Since then, AVA has been visiting the fish farmers to ascertain the situation, offer advice to them to mitigate the situation, such as canvas-bagging, and collecting fish samples from the affected farms for analysis.

AVA said some farms have carried out emergency harvest of the fish in view of the elevated plankton levels.
It had earlier reported that laboratory tests conducted did not detect marine biotoxins in the fish. AVA said fish harvested from local farms are safe for consumption.  - Channel News Asia.

Rare Arctic bowhead whale seen for the first time in UK waters

The bowhead was spotted with a mobile phone camera. © Seawatch

The bowhead whale was photographed on a mobile phone off Par Beach on the remote island of St Martin's by diver Anna Cawthray who immediately suspected it was special.

But it took an international exchange of e-mails between experts in Britain and the United States to identify it as a young bowhead who was 2,000 miles from home.

Anna feared the whale - which was about 25ft long - could have been stranded but she said: "After about 15 minutes it swam away.

"Seeing it was a once in a lifetime experience."

Bowhead whales normally live in the high Arctic near the ice edge and their closest population is off Spitzbergen far to the north of Norway.

They can reach up to 70ft in length, weigh up to 90 tonnes and live for up to 200 years which makes them possibly the longest lived marine mammal in the world.

They live off small crustaceans and use their large heads to smash through pack ice.

The record was described by the Sea Watch Foundation as an "extraordinary sighting".

A spokesman said: "This is the first sighting of this species in the UK. It has also not been recorded elsewhere in Europe south of the Barents Sea which is north of Norway.

"Bowheads were so heavily exploited by whalers in the Arctic Ocean, in Baffin Bay off Greenland, and the Barents Sea that the population seriously declined during the early twentieth century.

"The population dropped from around 30,000-50,000 to a low in the 1920s of about 3,000.

"But the cessation of commercial whaling in the latter half of the last century has allowed numbers globally to increase to somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000, mainly in the Beaufort Sea and Arctic Ocean."

Sea Watch Foundation's founder and director, Dr Peter Evans, said: "Bowhead whales are unusual amongst whale species in being largely confined to the coldest parts of the world, generally never far from the ice edge.

- Daily Express.

Jellyfish bloom reported for the first time off coast of Visakhapatnam, India

Representational image

A bloom of jellyfish has been reported off the Visakhapatnam coast for the first time. MFV Matsya Shikari, a survey vessel attached to the Vizag base of the Fishery Survey of India (FSI), has reported a bloom of jellyfish around 60 nautical miles off Visakhapatnam.

The vessel was carrying out a demersal (near the seabed) fishery resource survey in the area and researchers were surprised that 500 kg of jellyfish was caught in a single haul from a single-patch area at a depth of 40m. They say this is an indication of their abundance in the area.

The jellyfish found off was identified as Crambionella stuhlmanni, which causes skin rashes if touched. There are many species of jellyfish, which are venomous and its sting considered dangerous. World over, jellyfish blooms have caused power plant outages, destroyed the fishing-industry and damaged the beaches of holiday destinations.

"Jellyfish bloom is an indication of coastal eutrophication, overfishing and ecosystem degradation. Blooming of jellyfish results in clogging of fishing nets and thereby causes interference to fishery.

We observed that these jellyfish are laying thousands of eggs and live as a colony. The recent bloom could be due to an underwater drift and other oceanic changes due to natural calamities like Cyclone Hudhud etc. They breed in large numbers, sometimes in thousands," said senior scientific assistant at FSI, Vizag A. Siva, who was part of the voyage.

He said an in-depth study is the needed to understand the causes of the jellyfish bloom and its effect on the coastal fishery of India. - Deccan Chronicle.

Weimeraner survives cougar attack in Sierra National Forest, California

Weimeraner survives cougar attack. ©

A weekday rendezvous with Mother Nature gave a group of California hikers much more than they expected. What started out as a pleasant mountain jaunt for a four-year-old weimeraner and her owner in Oakhurst, California went south very quickly when they came face-to-face with a mountain lion. On Feb. 19, Candace Gregory was hiking with friends in the Sierra National Forest with her dog Sally. As Gregory tells it, she and her friends were about 30 feet behind her dog when she saw "a flash of something tannish".

Before it could even register, the big cat had Sally's head in it's jaws and it's paws wrapped around the pooch's body. Fellow hiker Rick Lawin said he heard a "blood curdling screaming sound of an animal in its death throes." He ran up and started hitting the mountain lion with his hiking stick, to help out Sally and protect his fellow hikers. That worked, because the hungry animal dropped the dog and jumped into the trees. They estimate that the big cat must have weighed at least 120 pounds.

They got Sally back to the car and rushed her over to a vet in Fresno, who reports the weimie had claw and bite marks all over her chest and legs, with a huge wound on her head. Sally had numerous stitches and a drainage tube placed in her head.

The group was very lucky. Had it not been for that hiking stick, Sally may not have lived through the attack. According to, in previous big cat attacks, people have utilized rocks, jackets, garden tools, tree branches, walking sticks, fanny packs and even bare hands to turn away the cats. They also did the right thing in slowly backing away from the cat. That's another of the recommendations listed right on the website, which also says you should make yourself seem as large as possible, open your jacket, yell, throw things, but don't turn away. Maintain eye contact and act like another predator.

They're also thankful they carried a cell phone to call ahead, a necessity any time you're communing with nature. A spare battery or portable charger is also recommended, and make sure it's charged. Sally will recover but won't be going on any hikes for several weeks; and the next time they go hiking, she'll remain leashed.  - Examiner.

Two coyotes attack dog in Cleveland, Ohio cemetery

Maitri, a 70-pound greyhound-mix, was attacked by two coyotes soon after this photo was taken.  © Beverly Singh

A Cleveland Heights dog is recovering from being attacked Sunday by two cold and hungry coyotes at Lake View Cemetery.

Yes, a cemetery island of grass and trees amid the busy streets at the intersection of Cleveland, Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland was the scene of a coyote encounter and more proof that Ohio's coyote population is rebounding.

Maitri, a 70-pound greyhound-mix, was lucky she had speed on her side. She escaped with a gaping flesh wound to a hind leg that required six stitches.

Ohio's dog owners need to beware that, in any setting, a dog running loose can be fair game, especially in the winter when predators are struggling to find common prey, like rodents.

Maitri's owner, Beverly Singh, a Cleveland Heights business owner who takes her dog to work with her, gives this account of the encounter:

"Maitri, being part greyhound, is used to lots of exercise and long walks. I took her to the cemetery around 1 p.m. because the sidewalks were so impassable, while the back roads at the cemetery were plowed.

"I let her off leash to run, though I know dogs aren't supposed to be off leash. I had both of my knees replaced within the last two years, and I'm nervous on the ice and snow.

"She ran up a path amongst some trees and out of sight. When I called her, she didn't come at first, so I called with more force. As she came running back around the curve in the path, I thought there was another dog with her, but as she came closer, I saw it was two coyotes on her tail. They broke off the chase about 40 feet from me, and when she got to me, I saw a big wound on her hind leg. We quickly walked back to the car and I took her to the emergency veterinary hospital, where she had to have anesthesia to close the wound."

Lake View Cemetery president Kathy Goss said, "There is a decent population of coyotes in the neighborhood, and, of course, some will visit the cemetery's 285 acres of land and nine miles of winding roads."

Those less-traveled roads also attract dog walkers, "a regular group of them who obey the rules and keep their dogs on a leash, don't walk them on the graves and pick up after them," Goss said. "This is the first coyote encounter we have heard of, but it wouldn't be wise to let a dog run loose in any park, especially in this extremely cold weather."

Singh said she heard about a couple of dogs getting attacked by coyotes in nearby Forest Hills Park, but "I thought we were safer at Lake View, so near the roads."

Singh agrees with Maitri's veterinarian, who examined the healing wound Wednesday.

"The vet said Maitri was very lucky," Singh said.  - Cleveland.

100 Georges Turtles found dead or dying in Bellinger river, Australia

A sick turtle, one of many taken from Bellinger River, is examined by senior curator Greg Pickering at Dolphin Marine Magic. © Gemima Harvey

An Environment Protection Authority (EPA) investigation into a large freshwater turtle kill in the Bellinger River, has given the wayterway a clean bill of health.

As many as 100 Georges Turtles have been found dead or dying in recent days from a mystery illness.

Investigation are underway to determine what is killing them.

The EPA took water samples from multiple points along the river, while vets from the Office of Environment and Heritage are examining the reptiles.

The water tests have not found any pesticides or hydrocarbons.

An EPA spokeswoman said the testing was thorough, and backs up the initial theory it was not a toxic spill that coused the turtle kill.

"EPA officers took the samples from four key locations along the river including at Myers Bluff and Thora Bridge," she said.

"The first round of results has confirmed that there are no traces of pesticide or hydrocarbon in the samples.

"These results support the initial observations that the turtle deaths are not related to a pollution incident."

Further results, including those from veterinary testing on the turtles, are likely to be delivered early next week.

Scientist trying to save the rare freshwater turtles fear the death of 100 could push the species to the brink of extinction.

Marine vet Duan March has been looking after the affected reptiles, and said most are not surviving.

"As of yesterday afternoon we had ten still left alive," he said.

"The Georges Turtle, that's where they live and this is going to be a significant impact on that population.

"Population estimates vary depending on studies, but up to 400 individuals have been identified in that stretch of river.

"So a loss of 100 is significant." - ABC Australia.

Wild boar attacks and injures five in Mizoram village, India

Wild boar. © David J Slater

A male wild boar entered a village in eastern Mizoram on Wednesday morning and injured five people, three of them grievously, before villagers shot it dead.

Village leader C Lalnunpuia said the wild boar entered Saichal, within Champhai district, from the nearby woods around 9.45 am, chasing a woman who was coming from the same direction. As it reached a house on the outskirts, it attacked a group of women sitting on the porch.

One of the women, identified as Lalruatliani, sustained wounds on her hands and arms, with several fingers broken.

Another woman, Pi Kawli, sustained wounds in the back, while the third woman, Lalrampari, was wounded in the chest and legs.

Two men who came to the women's aid were also injured before one of them could hit the wild boar with an axe.

The animal fled after it was wounded, and another villager chased after it and shot it dead near the village graveyard, which adjoins the woods.

Lalnunpuia, president of the village's Young Mizo Association unit, said the wounded were being shifted to the Aizawl Civil Hospital, about five hours by road.

Fanaia Fanai, another village leader, said it was rare to find wild boars roaming in the area and that he has not seen one himself in recent memory although he regularly goes to the woods and adjoining farmlands. - The New Indian Express.

Mass death of marine creatures at Pasir Ris beach, Singapore

Scores of dead marine life have been washing up on Pasir Ris beach over the weekend.

While reports have emerged about Changi fish farms suffering massive losses, it seems like wild fish have not been spared either.

Marine creatures - including puffer fish, eels, horseshoe crabs and cuttlefish - have been turning up lifeless on the island's north-eastern shores.
In the Changi case, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said plankton that damaged fish gills were responsible for the casualties.

But locally farmed fish remain safe for consumption as lab tests have not detected toxins in them.

Cuttlefish. © Sean Yap

Stars and stripes Puffer (Arothron hispidus). © Sean Yap

Pike eel/conger, Muraenesox sp.  © Sean Yap

Bluespotted Puffer (Arothron caeruleopunctatus). © Sean Yap

Mr Sean Yap, an undergraduate studying environmental biology at the National University of Singapore, has documented the carnage in an album on Facebook.

Calling for something to be done to address the almost annual occurrence, he wrote:
"(The) plankton has affected not only farmed fish, but many wild species as well.

"While it is sad to see them this way, this event may actually give us a rare insight into the diversity of marine life in our northern region, which are usually hidden by our opaque waters."
In March 2012, The New Paper reported that thousands of fish had died along the Sungei Api Api river in Pasir Ris.

Here are some casualties that Mr Yap and his friend Sankar Ananthanarayanan snapped:
- TNP.

Hundreds of dead fish found on the banks of a river in Uttar Pradesh, India

Morning walkers at Kudiya Ghat were in for a shock on Friday morning, as they found hundreds of dead fish floating on the banks of river Gomti. As the day progressed, similar news poured in from other parts of the city too, where dead fish were found in bulk.

Experts have said that prima facie it appeared that the ongoing damming work at Kudiya Ghat might be responsible for the mass death, as the machines and equipment could have brought down the level of Dissolved Oxygen (DO) in the river water.

An official of the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) said, “Owing to the damming of the river, the water got stagnated and led to a fall in the level of dissolved oxygen in the water. The fall in DO level could be associated with the loss of aquatic animals. It’s a short term effect. The level is expected to be restored after the completion of the ongoing cleaning project at Kudiya Ghat.”

However, as the day progressed, fishermen who were out to make their catch at Gulalaghat, a kilometre away from Kudiya Ghat, also reported similar deaths of fish. The situation was no different near Hanuman Setu, where too morning walkers spotted dead fishes in the water. “We were really shocked to see so many dead fish floating on the river’s surface,” said Kushal Sharma, a morning walker who was among the first ones to spot the fish at Kudiya Ghat.When contacted, district magistrate Raj Shekhar said he was keeping a watch on the cleaning project, “We will send a team of experts at places where dead fish were found to investigate the deaths,” he said.  - Hindustan Times.

10,000 birds dead, 23,000 killed due to avian flu in Monywa, Myanmar

Thousands of chickens and quail were destroyed in Monywa.
(Phyo Wai Kyaw/The Myanmar Times)
Dr Htein Lin said all infected birds had been destroyed, and controls had been imposed to keep suspect stock out of the market.

According to the state-owned media, 10,023 quail had died as of February 25 and 23,000 were destroyed, while 1243 chickens died of the disease and 1488 more were slaughtered in the 55-hectare (134-acre) zone.

"According to our figures, there are more than 140,000 chickens in the zone, but we don't know the exact number of quail," said Dr Htein Lin.

"Not all farms were affected. Controls have been put in place to stop the spread of the disease, and no infected products will be put on sale outside the zone. The regional government is also involved, and we have released full details of our response. The situation is under control," he said.

Dr Htein Lin said the zone authorities were applying experience gained during H5N1 outbreaks in 2006 and 2010 in dealing with the current situation.

Dr Kyaw Htin, head of the Mandalay Region Livestock Federation, said fowl deaths outside the zone were due to Newcastle disease and respiratory ailments common at this time of year.

"There is no unusual H5N1 activity in Mandalay Region, and no humans in Monywa are reported as infected. Bio-security is the key to dealing with H5N1. Livestock products such as eggs, chicken meat, and poultry guts derived from illegal trade are dangerous, especially those coming from China," he said.

Chickens are mostly bred in Patheingyi and Madaya in Mandalay Region in more than 200 poultry farms, he said, adding that one possible source of infection was the practice of some chicken butchers to build temporary slaughter huts beside creeks."H5N1 genes are always changing. One day, we will have to adopt a closed-farm system for fowl and quail livestock," he said. - MM Times.

Fish kill in 2 farm ponds in La Union, Philippines

 A fish kill has affected the fish pens in at least two barangays in San Fernando City in La Union province, a television report said Wednesday.

Local fishermen blamed the hot weather in recent days, according to a report on GMA News TV's "Balita Pilipinas Ngayon."

WATCH: Mass fish die-off in the Philippines.

The fishermen said there had been no rain in the area for a long time, and the land had dried up.

Some fish pen owners have resorted to harvesting their fish early even if the fish are still small.

The local government has not yet commented on the situation, the report said. - GMA Network.

Shellfish population dying in New Zealand harbour