No fewer than 5,000 dead seal pups have been washed up on land in Namibia – raising consternation from animal conservation groups.
Cape fur seals, who are often called the “dogs of the ocean” due to their playful nature, will often desert their young or abort their foetuses if there is a dearth of food around, reports say.
It is believed that the pups were aborted by their mothers.
The seals usually synchronise giving birth on the sandy beaches in November, but the amount of tiny bodies now on the beaches show something is not right.
The Ocean Conservation Namibia (OCNaimibia) have said they were carrying out tests to determine the cause of premature births.
Naude Dreyer of OCNamibia noticed the bodies after flying his drone over Walvis Bay’s Pelican Point seal colony on 5 October.
“This is the situation at Pelican Point, Namibia,” his organisation tweeted.
“All the little red circles mark dead seal pups. A rough estimate brings the numbers to more than 5,000 at our seal colony alone. This is tragic, as it makes up a large portion of the new pup arrivals expected in late November.
“The most likely cause is food resources we are going through some really strange climatic changes at the moment it could be the warm currents that bring in the fish.”
The seal mothers are also reported to be malnourished.
Cape fur seals can predominantly be found along the coastlines of Namibia and South Africa – stretching to the southern tip of Angola in the north.