Wildlife experts are baffled by deaths of seal pups
Monday 25 July 1994
A team of wildlife experts will visit a number of Scottish islands in their efforts to discover what has caused the deaths of the seal pups.
Haunted by the memory of an outbreak of distemper in 1988, which killed 19,000 of Britain's seals, wildlife experts also plan to have post- mortem examinations carried out to see if a virus is responsible.
The 37 common seal pups were found around the small uninhabited island of Damsay, which normally has a seal colony of around 200.
At first conservationists suspected they had been killed illegally, but are now less sure. Possible causes include a virus, a problem with their foodstocks, or other ecological disturbance.
Ross Flett, who runs a seal rescue sanctuary on Orkney, said yesterday: 'It is very unusual to see this number of deaths. The last time I remember seeing anything like this was in 1988. I am very concerned, and will be until we find out exactly what is happening.'
He plans to travel with wildlife experts to other Orkney isands to see if the problem has spread there.
Britain has a population of common seals totalling 28,000, a quarter of which are around Orkney. However, common seals are heavily outnumbered by grey seals, whose total British population - mostly in Scottish waters - could exceed 100,000.
Fishermen have been pressing for a cull of grey seals, blamed for eating up fish stocks, but this has been rejected by the Government. In 1989, about 19,000 seals were killed by a distemper- like virus that threatened to wipe out Europe's seals.
- 1 Bruce Jenner's 'Interview of the year': Suicidal thoughts, rejection by family members and new wardrobe
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 How to turn off/stop 'seen by' on Facebook: Disable it to make your chats seem less passive aggressive
- 4 'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
- 5 Buckingham Palace guard who attacked passers-by in 'most most violent piece of CCTV footage' police officer had seen walks free
Bruce Jenner's 'Interview of the year': Suicidal thoughts, rejection by family members and new wardrobe
Top 20 misconceptions people believe are true
Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
Nepal earthquake: More than 1,100 killed across four countries and in Mount Everest avalanche
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Katie Hopkins on LBC: Listen to caller taking The Sun columnist to task over migrant comments
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...
Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...
£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...