A Guadalupe fur seal, rehabilitated by the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California, being released back into the wild at Chimney Rock in Point Reyes National Seashore.
A substantial number of dead or stressed marine mammals have been reported along the Pacific coasts of Mexico and the United States this year, with one of the prime focuses of concern being the threatened Guadalupe fur seal (Arctocephalus townsendi). Four years ago, fur-seal deaths prompted the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to make the pinniped the subject of an Unusual Mortality Event declaration. Known as UMEs, such declarations allow NOAA to take special steps to assess threats faced by certain species. With NOAA reporting that 111 fur seals had been stranded in California and 90 in Washington and Oregon this year as of Sept. 30, the declaration remains in effect and would appear unlikely to be lifted soon. Those numbers, which include both live and dead animals, are higher than those for the corresponding period in 2015, the first year of the UME, notes Fernando Elorriaga... [Log in to read more]