Thursday, 21 June 2007

Mass die-off of Great Shearwaters in south-eastern US waters

Thousands of dead Great Shearwaters are being washed up on south-east coast of the USA, according to press reports today, with corpses being picked up along the shoreline from Georgia to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The shearwaters are currently undertaking their circular Atlantic migration to waters off New England and beyond, before heading east and then south back across the equator towards breeding grounds at Tristan da Cunha.

A spokesperson for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission told First Coast News that scientists are performing necropsies, or animal autopsies, on a number of the dead birds.
"They are emaciated and they don't have any food in their system which indicates that starvation has played a role, and likely that's through part of their migration process," said FWC's Wendy Quigley.

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