BOSTON (AP) — Scientists in New England are trying to discover what’s causing a recent spate of harbor seal deaths.
Since early September, 94 dead seals have been discovered from Maine to northern Massachusetts. That’s almost four times the 24 deaths over the same period last year, considered a typical year.
The seals are generally less than a year old and appear healthy. Researchers have theories about what’s causing the deaths, but no real answers. They’re awaiting test results from tissue and organ samples.
Despite the deaths, the popular harbor seal has a healthy local population.
Mendy Garron of National Marine Fisheries Service says the high number of deaths is alarming but doesn’t necessarily indicate major problems for the animal. But she says that could change if the deaths continue.