A mysterious and potentially widespread disease is thought to have contributed to the deaths of dozens of ringed seals along Alaska’s Arctic coast. Scores more are sickened, some so ill that skin lesions bleed when touched.
The animals are an important subsistence food for Alaska Native hunters and their families, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has proposed listing them as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
Source: Alaska Dispatch
Worrisome story about a terrible condition affecting these seals (see link for photos). They are not dying of malnutrion – a virus is suspected. Natives are concerned that it may not be safe to eat, that any virus can be passed up the food chain. Also disturbing, walruses are also turning up with sores. Researchers suspect may be related to global warming conditions. Skin samples are being analyzed.