Sick animals in Alaska, 11/11

There was a recent report about diseased seals in Alaska in 2011:

Beginning mid-July 2011, elevated numbers of sick or dead seals with skin lesions started being discovered in the Arctic and Bering Strait regions of Alaska. The North Slope Borough Division of Wildlife Management first began to notice sick seals while conducting ice seal satellite telemetry studies during routine research in July and August 2011. Hunters also began to report unusual symptoms they were observing in seals during harvests. Although abnormal hair loss (known as alopecia) had been under investigation in ringed seals for several years, hunters and researchers started seeing seals with more severe signs of illness, as well as dead seals. Diseased seals–primarily ringed seals—exhibited hair loss, delayed molting, and skin ulcers. Some of these seals also exhibited lethargy and labored breathing. Similar cases in ringed seals were also reported from Canada and Russia. In addition, there have been some reports of skin lesions in Pacific walruses (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) in Alaska, with some associated mortality. Spotted seals and bearded seals were also affected. There were reports of pinnipeds with similar symptoms in Canada, Russia, and Japan…. By December 2011, there were more than 100 cases of affected pinnipeds in Alaska’s Arctic region. Due to the unusual number of marine mammals discovered with similar symptoms across a wide geographic area, and after consultation with the Working Group on Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events, NOAA and USFWS announced the declaration of an Unusual Mortality Event on Tuesday, December 20, 2011.

I am struck that this report was just released as a 2/14 fact sheet.   There are earlier reports dating to 11/11.   I had not found them on previous searches.    The conclusion of the study  is that there is no evidence of radiation directly causing the illness.   This report can be added to previous reports of sick sea lions on the West Coast of California.


One thought on “Sick animals in Alaska, 11/11

  1. Pingback: Sea Lion decline in Russia | Vernon Radiation Safety

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