More Than 5,000 Baby Seals Wash Up On Namibian Beach In Unexplained Die-Off

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More Than 5,000 Baby Seals Wash Up On Namibia's Beach In Unexplained Die-Off

An unexplained die-off of 5,000 seal pups off the Atlantic coast of the African nation of Namibia is so far baffling conservationists and scientists. The bodies began washing ashore at the Pelican Point peninsula, a popular resort for tourists attracted by the wildlife and beautiful landscapes.

Conservations have postulated that a lack of fish in the ocean, toxins and pollution in the sea, or a rare disease may be responsible for the deaths of the Cape Fur seals. They are now taking quick action to discover the cause of the deaths in order to protect the species going forward. It has been known for Cape Fur seals to abandon or abort their young when they are extremely stressed or facing a drastic food shortage. In this particular case, it is thought many of the seals had been born prematurely before being disowned.

Naude Dreyer, a marine biologist with Ocean Conservation Namibia, said:

"When the pregnant female feels she does not have enough reserves, she can abort. A few premature deaths is a natural event, but thousands of premature dead pups is extremely rare."

In a Facebook post, along with an image of some of the victims of the tragedy, Naude stated:

"All the little red circles mark dead seal pups. A rough estimate brings the numbers to more than 5,000 at our seal colony alone. This is tragic, as it makes up a large portion of the new pup arrivals expected in late November."

This is the situation at Pelican Point. All the little red circles mark dead seal pups. A rough estimate brings the...

Posted by Ocean Conservation Namibia on Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Fellow scientist Dr. Tess Gridley gave her view on the seal deaths:

"That's the height of pupping that we would normally expect but what has been happening this year is there has been an increase in abortions that was first seen starting in August and really sort of peaked just last week in October. There are about 1.7 million cape fur seals in total and about a million of those are actually in Namibia so in terms of the overall number of animals, they are quite resilient to these effects. But one issue that we do think might happen in the future is you will see a dip in reproduction potentially going forward particularly now for those animals that have unfortunately died."

It is certainly hoped that conservationists will find a reason for the deaths and that any necessary moves can be made to protect the species going forward. The worst-case scenario would be that pollutants or toxins that can't be removed had somehow entered the sea and had caused these seal deaths. If that is the case, then long-term consequences for the overall population may persist.

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Thinking Humanity: More Than 5,000 Baby Seals Wash Up On Namibian Beach In Unexplained Die-Off
More Than 5,000 Baby Seals Wash Up On Namibian Beach In Unexplained Die-Off
An unexplained die-off of 5,000 seal pups off the Atlantic coast of the African nation of Namibia is so far baffling conservationists and scientists.
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