Today, more stories are circulating regarding suicide as an explanation for animal deaths in the past, especially when circumstances of an incident are highly unusual and when other plausible explanations are lacking. These stories are not further evidence in the latest trend of mass animal deaths, but rather as evidence suggesting that animals have a level of sensitivity and complexity which is generally overlooked. It is sad that we have to derive this understanding from such horrific circumstances.
1. Mass sheep suicide in Turkey, July 2005:
First one sheep jumped to its death. Then stunned Turkish shepherds, who had left the herd to graze while they had breakfast, watched as nearly 1,500 others followed, each leaping off the same cliff, Turkish media reported.
In the end, 450 dead animals lay on top of one another in a billowy white pile, the Aksam newspaper said. Those who jumped later were saved as the pile got higher and the fall more cushioned, Aksam reported.
2. 200 whales strand themselves on King Island between Australia and Tasmania. Apparently, this is not an isolated incident:
Mass strandings of whales occur periodically in Australia and New Zealand, as the whales migrate to and from Antarctic waters, for reasons that are not entirely understood.
Theories include disturbance of echo-location, possibly by interference from sound produced by human activities at sea.3. Dogs known to leap suddenly from a bridge in Scotland:
In the past fifty years, 50 to 600 dogs have jumped over Scotland’s Overtoun Bridge and plummeted to their deaths. A few years ago, five dogs jumped in under six months. The Daily Mail wrote an article featuring reports of horrified pet owners who walked their dog over the bridge, when suddenly the dog would, without warning, leap over the bridge, falling 50 ft to the rocky bottom below. Perhaps even more disturbing, there are reports of “second timers” – of the few dogs who have survived the fall, some jumped over the same bridge again.Animals, who are closer to nature, are more attuned with the purpose of the world as ingrained in them naturally by their creator. If this is part of what is behind news, it is a huge wake-up call to humans to get the world back on track. Ha'olam lo hefker - this world is not abandoned, rather, this world has the potential to be a dwelling place for the Divine, and will be that one day, soon, b"H.
Many theories have circulated about why dogs react this way to the bridge. Some suggest that the dogs are deliberately committing suicide, perhaps due to depression in their owners or even a supernatural force. More recent research suggests that it may be the scent of minks, an animal known to live under the bridge.