Mysterious Seal Disease Gets ‘Unusual Mortality Event’ Designation

The puzzling illness that’s affecting ringed seals in the Arctic is now officially an Unusual Mortality Event – or UME. The designation by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will free up more federal resources to investigate the cause. Walrus have also turned up with similar lesions and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to declare its own UME soon.

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Annie Feidt is the Managing Editor for Alaska's Energy Desk, a collaboration between Alaska Public Media in Anchorage, KTOO Public Media in Juneau and KUCB in Unalaska. Her reporting has taken her searching for polar bears on the Chukchi Sea ice, out to remote checkpoints on the Iditarod Trail, and up on the Eklutna Glacier with scientists studying its retreat. Her stories have been heard nationally on NPR and Marketplace. Annie’s career in radio journalism began in 1998 at Minnesota Public Radio, where she produced the regional edition of All Things Considered. She moved to Anchorage in 2004 with her husband, intending to stay in the 49th state just a few years. She has no plans to leave anytime soon. afeidt (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8443 | About Annie