Well, it certainly is eerie.
Tens of thousands of dead fish, along with dead seagulls, washed up on the shores of Lake Erie on Wednesday afternoon in yet another mysterious mass animal death.
Rick Nicholls, Member of Provincial Parliament for the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, is mystified by the mass Lake Erie animal death, telling NewsNet5: “First thing that crossed my mind, is there any potential danger to humans from a health point of view? Secondly, as I got more and more into it, what’s the cause of this sudden fish kill in the lake?”
Samples of the dead fish and dead birds have been sent to a lab for analysis. Currently, the Ontario Ministries of the Environment in Canada is pursuing several avenues, looking into whether a spill occurred that negatively impacted the ecosystem, according to NewsNet5.
Another possibility for the Lake Erie fish deaths is an inversion. An inversion is a natural phenomenon that occurs when cold water, which has lower oxygen levels, goes to the lake's surface. This can suffocate the fish, according to CNN.
"Essentially it's a rolling over of the lake," Ontario Ministry of the Environment spokeswoman Kate Jordan told Canada's Chatham Daily News on Tuesday. "Something – whether it be a storm, or cooler temperatures at night, or strong winds – triggers a temperature change in the lake."
However, researchers who tested the Lake Erie waters have not yet observed anything out of the ordinary in their field measurements, such as temperature, pH or oxygen levels, according to the Chatham Daily News. Jordan added, "We did not observe any spill or pollution impacting the lake."
Officials are still awaiting more intensive lab analysis results on the dead fish found at Lake Erie, which included carp, sheepshead, perch, catfish and suckers.
Dr. David Colby, the Chatham-Kent medical officer of health, told The Windsor Star that he has not seen or smelled anything like it before. “All kinds of people were woken out of a sound sleep by a stench and it was like a septic tank was backing up,” he told The Windsor Star of the smell of thousands of dead fish that began stinking up the region Friday.
Colby mentioned another possibility for the mass death to The Windsor Star:
He said there are other possible causes for the dead fish such as a fish disease called viral hemorrhagic septicemia and Type E botulism, a bacterial toxin which would kill birds that feed on dead fish. He said he’s already seen a sick gull near the dead fish but that is not conclusive evidence.
This would not pose a threat to humans, according to Colby.
Earlier this month, thousands of dead fish washed ashore along the Texas coast from the Colorado River to Galveston Island, Kens5 reported. Biologists suspected low oxygen levels caused the deaths.
The dead fish and seagulls found at Lake Erie is reminiscent of the mass animal deaths that occurred around the world in early 2011. Thousands of dead birds fell from the skies in Arkansas, hundreds of dead birds were found along a California highway, more were found in Kentucky and Louisiana, while millions of dead fish appeared in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay. Dead birds were also reported in Italy and Sweden, along with massive fish kills in New Zealand and Brazil.
At the time, Arkansas residents thought doomsday was near.
"I think the switchboard lit up pretty good," Beebe police Capt. Eddie Cullum said last January, according to Mother Nature News. "For all the doomsdayers, that was definitely the end of the world."
LOOK: Dead fish line the shore of Lake Erie in Canada.
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Dogs Over The Bridge
In the past fifty years, 50 to <a href="http://www.cracked.com/article/181_the-6-creepiest-places-earth/" target="_hplink">600</a> dogs have jumped over Scotland's Overtoun Bridge and plummeted to their deaths. A few years ago, five dogs jumped in under six months. <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-411038/Why-dogs-leapt-deaths-Overtoun-Bridge.html" target="_hplink">The Daily Mail</a> wrote an article featuring reports of horrified pet owners who walked their dog over the bridge, when suddenly the dog would, without warning, leap over the bridge, falling 50 ft to the rocky bottom below. Perhaps even more disturbing, there are <a href="http://www.cracked.com/article/181_the-6-creepiest-places-earth/" target="_hplink">reports</a> of "second timers" - of the few dogs who have survived the fall, some jumped over the same bridge <em>again</em>. Many <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-411038/Why-dogs-leapt-deaths-Overtoun-Bridge.html" target="_hplink">theories</a> have circulated about why dogs react this way to the bridge. Some suggest that the dogs are deliberately committing suicide, perhaps due to depression in their owners or even a supernatural force. More recent research suggests that it may be the scent of minks, an animal known to live under the bridge. Whatever the explanation may be, perhaps dog owners should simply stop walking their dogs over the Overtoun Bridge.
<a href="http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/dead-blackbirds-arkansas-bizarre-animal-deaths-110105.html" target="_hplink">LiveScience</a> reports that in 2005, over 1,000 toads exploded in Germany. An autopsy revealed that birds had eaten their livers, causing the toads to puff up and explode. Perhaps the birds were hired by Hannibal Lecter.
Sheep Suicide March
In a pretty strong argument that sheep really do follow blindly, hundreds of sheep followed each other over a cliff in Turkey in 2005. According to the <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4665511.stm" target="_hplink">BBC</a>, 400 sheep died, but another 1,100 falling sheep survived the pileup due to bodies cushioning their 15-meter fall. The mass “sheep suicide” devastated villagers in the eastern Van province, as families had relied heavily on their sheep for survival.<a href="http://www.usatoday.com/news/offbeat/2005-07-08-sheep-suicide_x.htm" target="_hplink"> USA Today</a> suggests that it was an estimated loss of $100,000. What we want to know is, if all the sheep were following each other blindly, which stupid sheep was leading them all?
Thousands Of Dead Red Devils
In 2005, <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/02/0223_050223_giantsquid.html" target="_hplink">National Geographic</a> reported that thousands of jumbo squid were found beached in California. The death of these “Red Devils” remains a mystery - they may live at depths of over 2,000 feet, so it’s hard to learn much about them. In life <em>or</em> death.
Birds And Fish Bizarreness
In early 2011, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/05/hundreds-more-dead-birds-_n_804952.html" target="_hplink">thousands</a> of birds and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/05/dead-birds-fall-from-sky-_n_804591.html" target="_hplink">millions</a> of fish were found dead across the globe. Mass numbers of dead fish have appeared in Maryland, Arkansas, Brazil, and New Zealand. Meanwhile, a crazy number of dead birds have been found in Arkansas, Louisianna, Kentucky, and Sweden. Theories ranged from fireworks to the apocalypse. We're hoping it was closer to the former.
<a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2010-07-29/world/uganda.anthrax_1_anthrax-hippos-game-meat?_s=PM:WORLD" target="_hplink">300</a> Hippos were found dead in a Ugandan park in 2004. An investigation revealed that the mass death was due to an anthrax outbreak found in their water. More recently, <a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2010-07-29/world/uganda.anthrax_1_anthrax-hippos-game-meat?_s=PM:WORLD" target="_hplink">82</a> hippos died this June from another anthrax outbreak in Uganda.
Thousands Of Flamingos, Penguins, And Pelicans
<a href="http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2040762_2040769_2040787,00.html" target="_hplink">Time Magazine</a> reports that in 2009, birds of many varieties died in mass numbers in Chile. Thousands of flamingos, 1,200 penguins, and about 60 pelicans all were found dead over the course of two months. There has been no proven reason for why all of these birds died, although some theories point to global warming, pollution, overfishing, or the unusually hot weather.
Hundreds Of Beached Whales
One eery Sunday night in 2009, nearly 200 pilot whales stranded themselves on an island between Australia's mainland and Tasmania, reports the <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7918144.stm" target="_hplink">BBC</a>. A few months earlier, over 150 pilot whales had beached themselves on Tasmania's west coast. One theory suggests that there may have been a disturbance in echo-location due to nearby humans.
10,000 Wildebeests Pileup
<a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/bigphotos/37881794.html" target="_hplink">National Geographic</a> reports that an estimated 10,000 Wildebeest lay piled up dead along the banks of Kenya last October. The animals all drowned while trying to migrate across the river, resulting in one percent of the ENTIRE species population being lost. We can’t help but wonder… after the first one, two, even 5,000 wildebeest drowned, why did the rest of them still decide to enter the water?
50% Of Earth's Species
Forget mass deaths that happened last year, even last century. This mass animal death really redefines "mass." 65 million years ago, <a href="http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/images/yucatan.html" target="_hplink">NASA</a> reports that the Chicxulub crater was formed when an asteroid or comet slammed into the earth, wiping out over 50% of the Earth's species. Dinosaurs didn't just die in mass, they went extinct. Makes a few thousand bird deaths seem like a drop in the bucket, doesn't it?
<a href="http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/dead-blackbirds-arkansas-bizarre-animal-deaths-110105.html" target="_hplink">LiveScience</a> reports that a shower of frogs may have fallen to the ground in the early 20th century. The report is based on a book by Charles Fort, who describes the phenomenon as "a shower of frogs which darkened the air and covered the ground for a long distance." While this event occurred during a rainstorm in Kansas City, Missouri, similar reports popped up in dozens of countries around the world, from Germany to Tahiti. Scientists believe it is possible that strong winds may have carried the light animals short distances, creating the appearance of a frog shower.
Animals Escape Death
10 lucky critters escape from becoming road kill.