Balmy temperatures can lead to conditions perfect for the spread of infectious diseases, Sanderson said. When sea ice melts too early in the season, seal pups must enter the water before they are ready to be weaned, leaving them weaker and more vulnerable to disease. Vanishing sea ice also means that seals and sea lions in cold regions will have less space to emerge from the water to rest, breed, or escape predators, forcing them to crowd more tightly together.
In a study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE, a group of scientists from various state and federal agencies, universities and bird rescue organizations documented the die-off and concluded from the data that it was caused by a record-breaking ocean heat wave in 2014 through 2016 that triggered systemic changes throughout the ocean ecosystem.
David Lusseau, senior lecturer in Marine Top Predator Biology at the University of Aberdeen, told IBTimes UK this does appear to be the largest whale stranding for any type of baleen whales. He said: “I do not know of other events with such large numbers of individuals involved. Seeing multiple sei whales stranded together in clusters is beyond the ordinary.”
By Hardy Jone @ BlueVoice.org During 2012 and early 2013 BlueVoice, working with ORCA/Peru, confirmed widespread hunting of dolphins in Peru. I personally traveled to Peru in March and December of 2012. And in 2013, BlueVoice funded surveys that document… Read More ›