A mysterious disease is killing seals in Alaska. Photo

Unknown illness, probably caused by a virus, struck ringed seals (ringed seals) off the coast of Alaska, killing a lot of animals in July of this year, according to faktorvremeny.wordpress.com.

Sick seals that independently selected on the Arctic coast, began to notice in July. According to the Department of Environment of the North Slope (North Slope), with time, the number of sick animals markedly increased. About a hundred injured seals were found near Barrow, the northernmost settlement of the country, half of the animals died, told local biologists. In other regions, a vast area residents reported 146 ringed seals were chosen on the shore. Most of them were sick. Ringed seals in normal rarely crawl ashore, spending most of their time in the water or on the ice.

Biologists believe that the disease was caused by a virus. Symptoms include bleeding wounds on their hind flippers, irritated skin around the nose and eyes and patchy hair loss. Experts tend to believe that vpyshka infection has affected not only the ringed seals. In northwest Alaska from Point Hope settlements were found dead walruses with similar symptoms. In addition, local hunters encountered two sea hares with characteristic skin lesions.

And yet, to identify the disease so far. It is also likely that the injuries were caused by the walrus something else. Remote and inaccessible areas inhibit veterinary help sick animals, said Jason Herreman, a local biologist.

— Some of the dead seals were selected for the survey. Sick animals are left to themselves in the hope of a cure. Tissue samples were sent to various laboratories in Anchorage and other cities.

Ringed seals, sea hares and walruses depend on the availability of summer ice, which is getting smaller every year.

U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has proposed to place the Alaska ringed seals and sea birds in the list of species under threat of extinction. Service Marine and Natural Resources also should propose to list and Pacific walrus.

Translation: Vitaly Semkin

Scientific American, all is not easy Tak.ru

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