Mass deaths of elephant seals recorded as avian influenza sweeps across the Antarctic
By The GuardianNews Disease watch
Researchers warn of one of ‘largest ecological disasters of modern times’ if the highly contagious disease reaches penguin colonies.
The Antarctic is currently grappling with the rapid spread of bird flu, which has resulted in the unfortunate deaths of numerous elephant seals.
Experts are deeply concerned about the potential consequences if this highly contagious virus manages to reach the isolated penguin populations, as it could trigger one of the most significant ecological disasters in recent history.
The initial outbreak of the virus was detected among brown skua on Bird Island, located off the coast of South Georgia.
Subsequently, scientists and observers have documented widespread fatalities among elephant seals, along with a rise in mortality rates among fur seals, kelp gulls, and brown skua at various other locations.
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