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die-off

USFWS

 

 

Dead and dying sea otters are being found along the Aleutian Islands and the Alaska Peninsula.

 

During an aerial survey in March, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service counted 56 dead otters from Cold Bay to Pilot Point.

 

Otters in Port Moller and Nelson Lagoon tested positive for streptococcus infection -- a common cause of sea otter mortality.

 

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Dick Daniels

 

The massive murre die-off that left tens of thousands of dead birds on Alaska’s coast in 2015 and 2016 may be over, but the population is still struggling. In the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea, surviving murres are failing to reproduce.

“When we got to most of the breeding colonies last summer we found that very few birds were attending the cliffs and almost complete reproductive failure at most of the colonies we looked at,” said Heather Renner, a biologist for the Alaska Maritime Wildlife Refuge.