Wildlife

Birds Disappearing in Japan’s Nuclear Disaster Zone

A new survey of birds within the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster zone finds that radiation has had a major impact on the winged wildlife.

Biologist Tim Mousseau from the University of South Carolina and colleagues found that since a few months after the March 11, 2011, quake and tsunami, many bird populations have dropped, with some species suffering dramatic declines.

Writing in the Journal of Ornithology, Mousseau says that one hard-hit species was the barn swallow, Hirundo rustica, which suffered large declines that related to how strong the radiation was in specific habitats.

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“We know that there were hundreds (of barn swallows) in a given area before the disaster, and just a couple of years later we’re only able to find a few dozen left,” said Mousseau.

Black Flamingo Startles Cyprus Bird Watchers

The appearance in Cyprus of what could be the world’s only black flamingo had nature lovers flocking to the Mediterranean island to see the winged wonder.

The bird arrived with a flamboyance of the more typical pink members of the species at a lake next to the British Royal Air Force base near Limassol.

Experts think it may be the same black flamingo that birdwatchers spotted in Israel in 2014.

It’s believed the bird could have melanism, which is a rare condition that affects skin pigments and can turn the features of birds black.

The condition is the opposite of what causes an albino.

The flamingos are believed to have stopped off on Cyprus to feed on brine shrimp while en route to their summer breeding grounds in Turkey.

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Disease

Cholera Outbreak Kills 20 In Nigeria

The Director, Public Health and Disease Control, in the Ministry of Health, Ebonyi State, Dr Chris Achi, yesterday confirmed the death of 20 persons in seven Local Government Areas of the State following an outbreak of cholera in the state.

He encouraged residents of the State to desist from defecating indiscriminately around their environment and waterways. This leads to disease outbreak because the same flies that perch on the faeces also perch on food.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Siberia – Update

Wildfires continued to spread in Siberia as the death toll from blazes in the Khakasia region reached 30.

Russia’s Siberian Federal District Forestry Department said on April 17 that wildfires were burning on more than 118 thousand hectares of land.

More than 1,500 houses in the southern Siberian region of Khakasia have burned down since April 12, leaving at least 5,000 people homeless.

Officials in Khakasia said on April 17 that the death toll from fires there had risen to 30 and the two people were reported missing.