The sky isn’t falling but Antelopes are

News from Kazakhstan: 60,000 or so antelopes have died, dropped dead, in just a few days. According to scientific reports, there is no conclusion or answers as to why the die-off is occurring.

And it’s not the first–80,000 or so took place in May of this year.

dead saigas

A LIVESCIENCE.COM report written by senior writer Tia Ghose explains that by the time experts arrived on scene to see the dead animals littering the landscape, an entire herd of 60,000 keeled over..

From the report:

Now, the researchers have found clues as to how more than half of the country’s herd, counted at 257,000 as of 2014, died so rapidly. Bacteria clearly played a role in the saigas’ demise. But exactly how these normally harmless microbes could take such a toll is still a mystery, Zuther said.

“The extent of this die-off, and the speed it had, by spreading throughout the whole calving herd and killing all the animals, this has not been observed for any other species,” Zuther said. “It’s really unheard of.”

There is some thinking outside the box, with theories ranging from space aliens (always) climate change (always) and contaminated grass (maybe that one is on to something?)