An unusual event occurred this week on the central California coast. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared that nearly 80 Guadalupe fur seals were found stranded on the shore of the ocean.
Stranding is an event that occurs with marine animals that once they go to the shore they cannot return to the waters and are stuck on land. All of the seals that were found in the central California coast were from Guadalupe Island, Mexico. The seals have traveled a distance of more than 600 miles in order to find the Californian shores.
Environment specialists found that nearly 80 Guadaupe fur seals have stranded on the California coast since January. Out of the 80 seals, little over half of them were found dead. Of the 38 mammals that were found alive, only 11 managed to survive long enough to be released back into the waters.
This is not the first time when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration finds stranded seals on the American coasts before. However, this case was concerning. This year the numbers were much higher than in the last decade.
Generally, the agency deals with approximately 10 such events per year. What is more troubling is that the fur seal is listed on one of the most threatened species of animals in the world.
Justin Viezbicke, coordinator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that the situation demands immediate acting.
Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration believe that the warming temperatures of the Pacific Ocean has determined the fur seals to migrate in the north. In attempting to explain the event, the NOAA officials said that the warm water conditions may have forced a large number of fish species to go north, and the fur seals went after them.
There are even more bad news for the seals and other animal populations that enjoy colder waters. Scientists say that this year’s El Nino will warm up the oceans even more in the next couple of months. El Nino is a naturally occurring phenomenon that increases the temperature of a certain portion of the ocean.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say that Guadalupe fur seals were also threatened by extinction back in the 18000s due to the extensive hunting. Currently, the number of this type of seals is about 10,000.
Photo credits: Wikimedia