A foul smell in a lake: thousands of fish in a state of decomposition, killed by drought

A foul smell in a lake: thousands of fish in a state of decomposition, killed by drought
A foul smell in a lake: thousands of fish in a state of decomposition, killed by drought

Drought has killed thousands of fish as a lake in northern Mexico dries up.

Volunteers threw lime to prevent decomposing fish corpses from causing diseases around Lake Bustillos (3,300 km2) in the state of Chihuahua, this Wednesday, June 12, 2024.

A foul odor emanates from the area and in some places the marshy ground makes it difficult for vehicles used to collect dead fish to pass through.

The town hall of the neighboring town, Cuauhtémoc, published an announcement: “We are looking for temporary staff to clean the Bustillos lagoon.”

The water level is on average less than 50% of its usual level, according to local authorities.

“As the quantity of water decreases, pollutants become more concentrated and affect the species that live here”explained to the press Irma de la Peña Meraz, head of the Ecology department of the locality of Cuauhtémoc.

Temperature records broken

The first dead fish appeared a week ago. As of May 31, moderate, extreme or exceptional drought affected 89.58% of Mexican territory (nearly two million km2), according to a map from the National Water Commission (Conagua).

Temperature records were broken, even in the capital Mexico City with nine million inhabitants, with 34.2 degrees.

Dead howler monkeys

Since May 16, 2024, at least 138 howler monkeys have been found dead in Mexico’s Gulf Coast state of Tabasco.

Other monkeys were rescued by residents and rushed to a local veterinarian. “They arrived in critical condition, suffering from dehydration and fever,” said Dr. Sergio Valenzuela before adding: “They were as limp as rags.” This is due to the strong heat that hit Mexico in May 2024.

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