January 6, 2011
Mass Animal Deaths Leading To End Times Panic
What started with reports of unusual blackbird deaths in the southern United States earlier this week has now snowballed into multiple reports of mass bird and fish deaths from around the globe, prompting some to theorize that they may be signs of the end times.
"When the term 'dead fish' became a top Google search Wednesday, soaring past the likes of Lindsay Lohan and leaving Justin Bieber in its scaly wake, it looked as if the end were near," Jill Rosen of the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday. "That's what everyone was saying, anyway."
The Chesapeake Bay incident, which according to the L.A. Times saw millions of dead, tiny fish wash ashore in Maryland, is the latest in a series of seemingly unexplainable mass animal deaths being reported worldwide.
As previously reported here on RedOrbit, thousands of redwing blackbirds were found dead in a small Arkansas town over the weekend, and on Tuesday, 500 additional birds were found dead in Louisiana. Arkansas officials said that testing showed no sign of disease and that the likely cause of death was "acute physical trauma"--likely caused by the birds, who have poor eyesight, becoming frightened by New Year's Eve fireworks and colliding with objects in the dark, according to reports.
Then on Wednesday, between 50 and 100 jackdaw crows were discovered on a snow-covered street in the Swedish town of Falkoeping. According to AFP reports, the birds were initially discovered by police around midnight, and five crows were taken by experts from the National Veterinary Institute, who planned to test them for bacterial and viral infections, including swine flu.
Wednesday also saw reports surface of 200 dead birds being discovered on a highway near Tyler, Texas, as well as thousands of dead fish being discovered in Florida, some 100 tons of sardines, croaker and catfish washing up dead on the coast of Brazil, hundreds more dead fish in New Zealand, hundreds of dead robins and starlings in the Kentucky town of Gilbertsville, and an estimated 40,000 dead devil crabs in England, according to Daily Mail reports.
These incidents "are the latest in a spate of incidents which are being blamed on New Year fireworks, thunderstorms, cold weather, parasites and even poisoning," Daily Mail reporter Wil Longbottom said in a Wednesday evening article, in which he dubbed the phenomenon "Aflockalypse."
"The internet has been abuzz with conspiracy theories about secret government experiments being behind the deaths, or it being a sign of a looming Armageddon at the end of the Mayan calendar next year."
Longbottom notes that tests are being carried out on the dead animals, but results of the examinations will most likely not be available for several weeks. In the meantime, panicked people around the world began wondering whether or not they could be experiencing the end times.
"George Washington University religion professor Paul Duff, who has studied the Book of Revelation and the apocalypse, didn't seem particularly alarmed about all this when reached for comment Wednesday," Rosen said, noting that the professor told her, "There has not been a generation that has not cried, 'The end is near.'"
"Duff said the disturbing nature of the wildlife deaths, combined with the unanswered questions behind some of them, create the perfect climate for a doomsday plot," the L.A. Times reporter said. "Even if all the poor birds and rotting fish portend nothing in the end, Duff has little doubt that the apocalyptically inclined will not drop their case."
"When they expect [doomsday] to come and it doesn't, they don't give up that belief," Duff told Rosen on Thursday. "They'll just recalculate. And push [the date] forward again."
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