Ringed Seal with Sores on Face and Head
Picture by: North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management staff Picture taken on: December 17th, 2007
On December 20, 2011, NOAA declared the recent deaths of ringed seals in the Arctic and Bering Strait regions of Alaska an unusual mortality event, triggering a focused, expert investigation into the cause. Since mid-July, more than 60 dead and 75 diseased seals, most of them ringed seals, have been reported in Alaska, with reports continuing to come in. Any member of the public who encounters a seal or walrus that looks sick or behaves unusually, such as by not fleeing from humans, should avoid approaching or making contact with the animal. Sick or dead marine mammals should be reported to NOAA Fisheries Alaska marine mammal stranding hotline: 1-877-925-7773.