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March 2, 2012

HSI/Canada Calls for DFO Investigation of Mysterious Seal Deaths

Humane Society International/Canada

  • Dead of unknown causes. Frank Loftus/The HSUS

Humane Society International/Canada calls on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to investigate the unexplained deaths of hundreds of grey seals on Hay Island. Between 300 and 400 dead seals were found by HSI/Canada on a recent expedition to the island, which is part of the Scaterie Island Wilderness Area off Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

"This is my fifth year visiting Hay Island, and I have never seen this kind of mortality for grey seal pups before the seal slaughter has even begun," said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International/Canada. "In most years we have observed a few dead seals on Hay Island, but those pups were newborns, in very poor condition, and had clearly died of natural causes. What stood out to us this year was the huge number of dead seals, the very good condition and body weights of the dead animals, and the amount of weaned, older pups that were dead. There was no visible, apparent explanation for their deaths."

HSI/Canada urges the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to investigate the deaths immediately and to survey other grey seal colonies to see if unusual mortality is evident in these areas.

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Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, representing tens of thousands of members and constituents across the country. HSI/Canada has active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation and farm animal welfare. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International—one of the largest animal protection organizations in the world, with more than 11 million members and constituents globally—On the Web at hsicanada.ca.

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