Thousands of dead seal pups wash ashore in Namibia, says conservancy group

WINDHOEK (Reuters) - Thousands of dead seal pups have washed ashore on the coast of Namibia, a conservancy group said on Wednesday. The pups were found at Pelican Point peninsula, a tourist destination known for its colony of seals and school of dolphins. Drone footage taken by Ocean Conservation Namibia (OCN) shows the coast dotted with more than 5,000 dead seal pups, the group said.

Reuters October 15, 2020 00:11:34 IST
Thousands of dead seal pups wash ashore in Namibia, says conservancy group

Thousands of dead seal pups wash ashore in Namibia says conservancy group

WINDHOEK (Reuters) - Thousands of dead seal pups have washed ashore on the coast of Namibia, a conservancy group said on Wednesday.

The pups were found at Pelican Point peninsula, a tourist destination known for its colony of seals and school of dolphins.

Drone footage taken by Ocean Conservation Namibia (OCN) shows the coast dotted with more than 5,000 dead seal pups, the group said.

"We are sitting at the cusp of a catastrophe. There are literally thousands of seal pups being born prematurely and dying almost immediately," it said in an Instagram post.

It said previously some female seals had been observed to abort their foetus when they felt there was not enough food available. "This happens every year to a few individuals, but never on this scale!"

The Ministry of Fisheries said researchers had noticed higher than normal numbers of seal abortions at Pelican Point but could not establish a reason or give numbers.

"We cannot attach a number to it as we are still gathering data," Graça D'Almeida, Director of Resources Management at the ministry, said.

But OCN says starvation is the most probable cause as fish, the seals' main source of food, have moved from Pelican Point.

It said other reasons could be toxins or diseases but nothing could be confirmed without proper study.

OCN is working with the fisheries ministry to conduct biopsies and tests.

A similar tragedy occurred in 1994 when starvation led to the loss of about a third of the seal population at Pelican Point, OCN said.

(Reporting by Nyasha Nyaungwa; Editing by Promit Mukherjee and Giles Elgood)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.