Mystery as ‘corkscrew’ kills Scottish seals

By Mail On Sunday Reporter

'Strange deaths': Seven incidents involving common and grey seals were reported in Scotland in the last two months

Dozens of seals are dying from unexplained ‘corkscrew’ injuries, prompting the launch of a Scottish Government investigation.

Seven incidents involving common and grey seals, such as the one pictured below, were reported in the past two months alone in St Andrews Bay and the Firth of Forth, Scottish officials said.

Carcasses washed ashore showing a single, smooth-edged cut starting at the head and spiralling around the body. Experts do not believe the injuries were caused by fishing nets or boat propellers.

Environment Minister Richard Lochhead said: ‘It’s critical that we establish the cause of these strange deaths and do all we can to protect our seal populations, particularly as numbers have reduced in recent years. I would encourage anyone who encounters a seal carcass to contact the Sea Mammal Research Unit.’

In total, 33 seals have washed up along the east coast of England and Scotland, including six in St Andrews Bay and the Firth of Forth in 2008 and 2009.

Similar incidents have been reported in Norfolk and off the Canadian coast.

Mr Lochhead has asked scientists from the University of St Andrews to investigate.

source: dailymail