In the last five months, a mass extinction of marine mammals has been noticed. Autopsies showed that the animals had no access to fish.
While a lack of rainfall in Africa led to the death of elephants late last year, elsewhere on the globe a mass die-off of seals was recorded. New Zealand reports up to a thousand individuals of this marine species who died due to lack of sufficient food. Scientists talk about the collapse of the ecosystem.
Starving seals on the coast of New Zealand
For nearly half a year, New Zealanders observed a decreasing seal population on the Kaikōur coast, located in the north-eastern part of the South Island. Over the course of five months, almost 1,000 seals were confirmed dead and subjected to autopsies. The examination revealed significant irregularities in their nutrition. It turned out that many of the dead individuals were juveniles that were extremely hungry. “A recent report found that New Zealand fur seals eat 46 species of fish and 18 species of cephalopod, so the fact that they continue to starve and cannot find enough food on such a varied diet is very concerning,” said Dr Jody Weir, the Department of Environmental Protection’s environmental advisor. .Marine Sciences.
Warnings of ecosystem collapse
Scientists warn that changes taking place in the oceans may lead to a complete collapse of the ecosystem in the future. The greatest threat is the increasingly frequent heatwaves, which increase the temperature in the oceans and seas, which in turn leads to a decrease in the number of fish. Over the last few years, New Zealand has seen starvation and mass deaths among coastal birds – both phenomena are believed to be linked. According to Sabrina Luecht, a wildlife specialist in Kaikōura, this is the beginning of an ecosystem collapse. “This is really grim news. There needs to be a call for action to bring about policy changes in New Zealand, such as increasing the number of marine reserves,” he says. We also need a new animal hospital that would be able to rehabilitate sick animals.