Home > Mass Animal Deaths > New England: Whales, Tuna and Even ‘Massive Amount of Birds’ Are Being Found Dead Along Shoreline As Mystery Continues to Surround Numerous Seal Deaths

New England: Whales, Tuna and Even ‘Massive Amount of Birds’ Are Being Found Dead Along Shoreline As Mystery Continues to Surround Numerous Seal Deaths


By Charles McMahon – “Why are harbor seals dying in droves along the New England shoreline?

A definitive answer is not yet known, but theories ranging from algae blooms to Armageddon have begun to surface since the young seals began washing ashore in early September.

Other theories floated from community members over the last few weeks include questions of whether toxins from jelly fish stings, radiation from an unreported release of cooling water from the Seabrook nuclear power plant, or last year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could be to blame.

So far investigators from the New England Aquarium and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association have ruled out only a handful of potential reasons for the spike in seal deaths.

The investigation, which began only weeks ago after numerous dead seals were found on various Seacoast beaches, has revealed approximately 94 seal carcasses have washed ashore since Sept. 1.

Mendy Garron, regional marine mammal stranding coordinator for NOAA, said the seals have been found on beaches from southern Maine to the North Shore of Massachusetts. Other animal species, such as whales and a bluefin tuna, have also washed ashore, said Garron, but not at the frequency of the young harbor seals.

Much like everyone else looking into the seal deaths, Garron said she’s not sure what the cause is just yet…

Inga Sidor, a senior veterinarian pathologist at the New Hampshire Veterinarian Diagnostic Lab and assistant clinical professor at UNH’s Department of Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences, said she has been following the event over the past few weeks. Sidor said the fact that not only seals, but whales, tuna and even birds, are being found dead along the shoreline is troublesome. ‘When you start to have more than one specific group that is affected, that is when the bell starts to go off,’ she said.

Sidor said she is primarily involved due to the massive amount of birds — namely seagulls — being found on beaches.

Having examined birds found this past week in Rye, Sidor said she is looking into the stomach contents of the dead birds and is conducting a toxin analysis similar to the tests being done on seals and whales. The birds examined had fish in their stomachs, which Sidor said means they were eating before they died.” Read more.

Categories: Mass Animal Deaths
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