Mystery of Mass Animal Death Epidemic Deepens After 8,000 Turtle Doves Fall Dead in Italy With Strange Blue Stain on Their Beaks

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of dead turtle doves rained down on roofs and cars in an Italian
town in the latest in a growing spate of mass animal deaths across
the globe.

Residents in
Faenza described the birds falling to the ground like ‘little Christmas
balls’ with strange blue stains on their beaks.

Initial tests
on up to 8,000 of the doves indicated that the blue stain could
have been caused by poisoning or hypoxia.

A witness told ‘We have
no idea why this happened all of a sudden.

‘The doves
just started falling one-by-one then in groups of 10s and 20s.’

Hypoxia, a
lack of oxygen, is known to cause confusion and illness in animals.
It is also a common precursor to altitude sickness.

Experts said
results from tests on the doves will not be available for at least
a week.

They said that
cold weather could have caused the birds’ deaths as the flock was
swept into a high-altitude wind storm before falling to the earth.

It comes after
two million dead fish were found to have washed up on shores in
Chesapeake Bay, Maryland.

The alarming
find is being blamed by authorities in Maryland on the stress caused
by unusually cold water and overbreeding among spot fish.

That investigation
comes just days after the deaths of an estimated 100,000 fish in
northwest Arkansas, which is being blamed on disease.

A statement
by the Maryland Department of the Environment said: ‘Natural causes
appear to be the reason.

‘Cold water
stress exacerbated by a large population of the affected species
(juvenile spot fish) appears to be the cause of the kill.’

tests of the water in Chesapeake Bay have showed the quality was
acceptable, officials said.

The statement
added: ‘The affected fish are almost exclusively juvenile spot fish,
three to six inches in length.

‘A recent survey
showed a very strong population of spot in the bay this year. An
increased juvenile population and limited deep water habitat would
likely compound the effects of cold water stress.’

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8, 2011

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