Saturday, October 15, 2011

Alaskan Seals Arriving on Beach Dying from Mystery Disease

Photo Credit: National Geographic
US environmental agencies are investigating the cause of a mystery illness that is killing seals in Alaska. Since July, over 107 ringed seals have been found dead, while countless others have been spotted suffering from loss of fur and skin lesions covering their mouths and flippers. Others have shown signs of intense lethargy and labored breathing before dying.

Similar cases of the mystery illness have been reported in Russia and Canada, as well as in some walruses in Alaska. Laboratory tests to discover the disease's origin have so-far proven "inconclusive," and officials said it is not known if the condition can be passed from the seals to human beings. The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration in the US has advised local indigenous people as well as tourists not to eat or handle any sick animals until more is known about what is causing the deaths.

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