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NOAA declares seal die-off ‘unusual mortality event’

File photo – A seal lazing at the base of the breakwater in the Port of Los Angeles looks at the launch voyage of the Aquarium of the Pacific “Urban Ocean cruise, May 27, 2010 in San Pedro Bay off the coast of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images) (2010, AFP)

(2010, AFP)

PORTLAND, Maine – The federal government is declaring the death of hundreds of seals off the coast of New England this summer, an “unusual mortality event.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said Friday the investigation of the “elevated strandings of harbour and grey seals in the Northeast attributed to the disease.” The said 462 seals have been found dead off the coast of New England in July and August, with most of Maine and others from Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

The NOAA has said tests indicate dead seals found in New England tested positive for bird flu, and phocine distemper.

The agency says that the declaring of a mammal die-off as an “unusual mortality event” means that the dead will be prioritized for research and action.

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