Rare seal is being wiped out by poison

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The Mediterranean monk seal, one of the world's rarest and most threatened mammals, has suffered a monumental setback in its fight for survival as about three-quarters of the species last truly viable population, nearly a half the global population, has been annihilated by a toxic algal bloom.

To date, more than 100 bodies have been washed up on the coast of the Western Sahara, home to these warm-water cave-dwelling seals. The deaths were first noticed four weeks ago by Spanish scientists working for the European Union Life project on Mediterranean monk seals. Thirty-six corpses were washed up in the first 10 days, but the numbers have now dropped to one or two per day.

It is estimated that as many as 210 seals of the 270 in the population will have died.