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Mysterious seal-dying on German island Sylt

Sad sight on the German North Shore: Since early October, more than 250 seals died and got washed upon the beaches of different Islands.  The Syltonian seal Protector Thomas Diedrichsen, collects the dead animals for marine biological examination. : ” This is  triple of what we usually experience in October” he sais.


About 12,000 seals live on the North Sea coast of Schleswig-Holstein- So far noone knows, why so many of them are dieing.

Currently, experts of the veterinary University of Hannover examine the cadavers –  results should be out next week.

One possible threat isa new outbreak of  the seal distemper. the disease  broke out twice in the last decades at the North and Baltic seas with disastrous consequences. In 1988 18,000 animals (60% of the population) were killed. In 2002 even 21,700 animals (40% of the population) died. The virus was probably introduced by migratory Arctic seal species. The distemper damages the immune system of animals which then painfully die of other infections (for example, pneumonia). But also a flu pathogen could be blamed.

200 animals have died since August ashore the Danish Baltic Sea Island Anholt . Scientists iderified a flu virus.

Thomas Diedrichsen stays positive though: ” We have a very high population of seals right now. So no reason to worry too much so far. But we will have to wait what the examination of the dead animals will find out”.

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