The South African government is investigating the deaths of hundreds of seals along the west coast near Cape Town, and malnutrition is suspected to be the cause.
Reuters photographers spotted numerous seal carcasses on Cape Town beaches and along the city’s north coast last week. Several dead seals were seen floating in the water.
James-Brent Styan, spokesperson for the Western Cape Province’s environmental department, said seal deaths were generally normal, but never as numerous as they are today.
“Unlike what we are going through now, which is why we are so worried,” he said. “One of the initial theories was that they could be malnourished, many seal carcasses are small, but this is only a theory.”
Local authorities said last week they buried nearly 200 seal carcasses.
Styan said officials were hoping to get more information after a report from the state veterinary service.
Experts believe an outbreak of bird flu that infected seabirds in the Western Cape was not the cause of the seal’s massive death. (Ant / OL-12)