Necropsy

Peter Ketels photo

by Joan Harvey

 

i couldn’t cry out because my mouth was full of beast & plunder

                     Kamau Brathwaite

 

A pregnant sperm whale washes up on the beach in Sardinia carrying a dead fetus.

      49 pounds of plastic in its stomach

 

Iguanas freeze and fall out of trees in Florida.

      unusual cold

 

In Australia bats’ brains fry in their heads. At least 45,00 flying foxes die on one day. Dozens of baby bats pile up on the ground. Three species of bat corpses piled high. Possums burn their paws on roads and roofs.

      unusual heat

Corpses of thousands of Saiga antelopes lie on the steppe in Kazakhstan. Estimated 200,000 dead over 20 square kilometers. All fell where they were feeding, either grazing normally with their newborn calves or dying where they stood.

      hemorrhagic septicemia or blood poisoning from bacteria due to high heat and humidity

 

Hundreds of millions of starfish, more than 20 species, melt into white gloop off the west coast of America.

      parvovirus, causing gastrointestinal problems in animals, leaving them vulnerable to bacterial infection due to high ocean temperatures

 

More than four times the usual number of dead bottlenose dolphins off the northern coast of Gulf of Mexico, 260 in four months. Also: dead fish, sea turtles and manatees.

      Deepwater Horizon oil spill, inflow of fertilizers and urban sewage, heavy rains in Midwest contribute to high runoff into the Mississippi River

 

Young male Cuvier’s beaked whale found dead in the Philippines.

      88 pounds of plastic bags in its stomach, dehydration and starvation

 

Roughly 109 million migrating Monarch Butterflies in North America, down 27 percent from just last year. In 1996 there were approximately a billion.

milkweed on which the butterflies depend now hard to find, due to the herbicide Roundup sprayed on genetically modified crops of soybeans and corn

 

Young female rough-toothed dolphin found on a Florida beach.

balloon and two plastic bags in its stomach, emaciation

 

Unexpected decline in number of sperm whales.

whaling, vessel strikes, entanglement, ocean noise, marine debris, climate change, oil spills

 

Birds dropping from the sky in New Brunswick.

exhaustion from hunger, bad weather during migration causing them to use up their energy reserves, cold weather keeping insects down, also pesticides

 

Starving polar bears.

disappearance of sea ice, loss of weight due to need to travel farther for food

 

Winter ticks killing moose calves at an unprecedented 70% death rate over the past three years. Ticks also weakening adult moose and harming moose reproductive health.

longer lasting warm season, delayed snow, climate change favorable to ticks

 

Biggest colony of King Penguins on the planet collapses with nearly 90 percent of the penguins vanishing since the 1980s. Almost 2 million birds disappear from Ilê aux Cochons between Madagascar and Antartica.

unknown, climate change

 

Thousands of tufted puffins in the Bering Sea dead.

warmer sea water, disruption of food supply, changes in air and sea temperature and winter ice levels, starvation

 

Large spike in dolphin deaths in the Aegean Sea.

sonar from Turkish navy exercises, pollution, overfishing, heavy marine traffic

 

Koalas officially “functionally extinct.” The approximately 80,000 still existing are unlikely to reproduce another generation, and prone to inbreeding due to low numbers.

deforestation, disease, climate change-driven drought, massive slaughter for fur in 19th and 20th centuries

 

9th dead gray whale found in San Francisco Bay Area in 2 months.

      3 killed by collisions with ships, the rest from malnutrition

 

Scores of dead gray dolphins wash up on Brazilian beaches.

cetacean morbillivirus attacking their immune system, causing skin lesions, pneumonia, and different infections, cause unknown; highly polluted water

 

World’s second largest emperor penguin colony wiped out overnight with thousands of chicks drowning.

collapse of ice shelf in Antarctica

 

More than 3000 dead dolphins in three months wash ashore along one stretch of coastline in Peru in an escalating trend.

offshore oil exploration using sonar leading to the death of marine life en masse, acoustic impact killing not only dolphins but marine seals and whales

 

250 walruses in Russia walk over the edge of a cliff.

no space on sea-ice because of ice melt due to global warming

 

8 million farmed salmon in Norway die.

suffocation by algae bloom exacerbated by warmer seas

 

31 dead gray whales spotted along West Coast since January.

malnutrition

 

1200 dolphins wash up on France’s Atlantic coast since January. As many as 6,000 may have died in less than four months.

fishing nets, extreme mutilation by fishing vessels

 

Endangered albatrosses are eaten alive by house mice. Previously the two species existed peacefully together.

drought causing starvation and dehydration in the mice

 

Xerces blue butterfly, Antioch katydid, Tobias’ caddisfly, Roberts’s alloperlan stonefly, Colorado burrowing mayfly, Rocky Mountain grasshopper, declared extinct.

habitat degradation and loss, urban and industrial pollution

  

Golden toad that lived in mountaintop cloud forests declared extinct.

      forests disappeared due to drought and other climatic changes, deforestation, also pathogens thriving at high altitude because of warming temperatures

 

Bramble Cay melomys, small rodent living on an island on the Great Barrier Reef, declared extinct.

      first mammal extinct specifically from climate change, extreme water levels, and severe weather events

 

                                                                    if you

                                                                  can’t breathe the air or drink the water

                                                                  doesn’t someone out there want you dead?

                                                                                       Alice Notley

 

The whale coming to shore is sick

the sharks have eaten her bowels

and the meat of her body.

She travels slowly—her bowels are gone.

She is dead on the shore

and can travel no longer.

Seri Whale Song, Santo Blanco

 

                                                                  the land grasses

                                                                  and the

                                                                  cochayuyo

                                                                  seaweed

                                                                   are intertwined

                                                                  with plastic nets.

                                                                             Cecilia Vicuña

 

an international destiny

of vicious irremediable storms droughts

Alice Notley

 

                                                                  together with the tree

                                                                  they destroyed its shade

Tadeusz Rozewicz

 

Tore the earth and tore the air

                  Nathaniel Mackey

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