Shock number of seal deaths

More than 2,000 seals around Sweden's coast are now believed to have died this summer, mystifying scientists. Previous estimates put the death toll at just 200.

Shock number of seal deaths

“After inventories taken by us and our Danish colelagues we are missing more than 2,000 seals – 1,300 in the Skagerrak strait and 1,000 in the Kattegat,” said Tero Härkönen, seal researcher at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, to Dagens Nyheter.

It is believed that most of the dead seals have sunk to the sea bed. Researchers do not yet know what has killed the animals, but say they have ruled out Phocine Distemper Virus (PDV), the virus which in 1988 killed 18,000 seals in northern Europe.

A number of seal colonies are believed to still bear the illness that killed the animals this summer.