From seabirds to whales to antelopes to starfish, animal die-offs across the globe are raising alarm about the deadly impact of climate change on the world’s ecosystems and their vulnerable inhabitants.
An estimated 8,000 black-and-white common murres were found dead on the beaches of Alaska’s Prince William Sound over the weekend, joining thousands more that have washed up on beaches from California to the Gulf of Alaska over the past year. The seabirds, who appear to have died of starvation, “are indicators of what is happening in the marine ecosystem,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) wrote in a press release (pdf) on the matter.
While the USFWS notes that “seabird mortality events occur occasionally, especially after a hard winter, and causes are often difficult to determine,” it also points out that the “current die-off, however, appears to be unusually large.”