Fur Seal Deaths Increased Rapidly On California Coast

Posted: Sep 30 2015, 9:50pm CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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Fur Seal Deaths Increased Rapidly on California Coast
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  • Researchers Aghast over Fur Seal Deaths

Many distinguished researchers were aghast over several fur seal deaths that occurred off the coast of California.

The Guadalupe fur seals are in the throes of a death epidemic. Scientists noticed this phenomena off the coast of California and Mexico. They seem to be stranded on the beaches and are dying off in record numbers like some species of whales that are washed ashore.

This comes as somewhat of a surprise for the experts who are left in a lurch and don’t know what to do about the SNAFU.

A response to this challenge is due though. About 80 fur seals have been found abandoned off the southern coast of California. This is a whopping figure. The last two decades have seen at maximum 10 to 12 fur seals stranded on the beaches in the region.

But this time around, it was as if the numbers had skyrocketed. From the 80 odd seals, 38 were alive while the rest were dead as doornails. The matter was brought up at a teleconference. Most of the abandoned seals were pups last year. By now they were adults and mature enough to survive.

The rehabilitation of these fur seals was the duty of the marine conservation agencies in the area. Those fur seals that had survived were in a weak and sickly state. Experts have warned that the demise and diseased state of these fur seals is due to warmer weather conditions in the Pacific Ocean.

It’s been more than 700 days since such a situation has existed and so here you have the bitter results of this climate change. The climatic conditions may be due to a warm water blob as well as a high pressure phenomenon off the Gulf of Alaska.

The warm water habitat caused several of the fish species that the fur seals were dependent on to dwindle. This may be the major cause of the current crisis among the fur seal populations.

The fish have also migrated to other cooler waters and so the fur seals are left high and dry in regards to their food source. The thin and weak state of many of the seals was proof of this loss of an ecological web and environmental niche.

A month back, many whales which included humpbacks and fin whales, were found stranded on the beach. This too may have been due to similar conditions. The current situation appears to be problematic since large scale changes need to be made to accommodate the fur seals.

Their conservation will require every ounce of care by mankind and still it may be a case of too little too late.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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