Unusual number of marine mammals found dead

Working with local subsistence experts, our Nome-based Marine Advisory agent Gay Sheffield has found many marine mammals dead in recent days.

A dead bearded seal pup, found on a barrier island west of Shishmaref on June 24, is one of more than two dozen marine mammals that has washed up dead recently. Photo by Gay Sheffield.

They include whales, walruses, and seals (mostly pups). Sheffield told the The Nome Nugget that while it is not unusual to find dead marine mammals once in a while, the number of dead animals found in recent days is higher than normal.

According to the article, “ocean temperatures are rising way above normal – a NOAA trawl survey in the southern Bering Sea reports sea temperatures higher than 6°C than normal – signs of an ecosystem in trouble are flashing. While some marine mammals do die naturally or are lost during harvest, the amount of skinny seal pups and walrus calves is alarming.”

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