Five hundred Seals were found dead on the northeastern coast of Peru Sunday. Currently there are no indications as to how or why they might have died, and the bodies supposedly have started decomposing which leads to conclusions that they have been there for several weeks
Days or even weeks have gone by from the point of death until the time their bodies were discovered. A local governor recently accused fisherman of poisoning the seals, and the Peruvian environmental police are launching an investigation into that matter as well.
The seals are known to be superb at fetching food in the sea waters, but also have been known to come on land to forage for food as well. Ages of the sea lions were adults and juveniles and it is believed that the farmers and the fisherman may have poisoned them to harvest the shellfish from the beach.
The sea lions do come close to the shore in search of food as previously mentioned looking such as fish and scallops, so other causes such as getting tangled in fishing nets could be another cause as well. Eating small pieces of plastic is another thought of their deaths but 500 at one time would be highly unlikely in this case.
This would not be the first strange report of sea lion or other animal deaths along the coasts of Peru. Earlier in the month, 187 sea lions were found dead on a beach just north of this location along with four dead dolphins, a dozen pelicans, and several sea turtles. This would seem rather odd to anyone and to have it happen again so suddenly and at such a higher number, would be cause for alarm in itself.
Head of the Illescas nature reserve also stated that Aldo Aguirre stated that another 117 dead seals were found as well and he believes the deaths are due to a lack of food supply. This he thinks is because of the excess of water in the oceans, the fish are going to farther depths making harder for them to find the food they need to survive.
This was also backed up by the Institute of Peru who did a study and found that the alteration affected not only the seals but the birds as well. In 2012 hundreds of dolphins were found dead along the coastlines and the oil explorations were being blamed at that time. But the Institute also said that the dolphin deaths were of natural causes at that time and ruled out any harm from the oil explorations.
But if poisoning is behind the deaths of the sea lions, it would not be the first time as well. Last year there were reportedly 50 dead sea lions found on the coast and they were tested and it was found that they indeed died from poisoning. A method was used to track the poison back to the fish that was laced with pesticides which were fed to the sea lions.
Apparently since 2012 an independent study has begun outside of the Peruvian study to find out why 5,000 birds have died since then and over 900 dolphins have also died, not including the sea lions and turtles.