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8 December 2023 / the Guardian / Phoebe Weston

Mass deaths of elephant seals recorded as bird flu sweeps across the Antarctic

South Georgia, Sandwich Islands

The virus was first reported among brown skua on Bird Island, off South Georgia. Since then, researchers and observers have reported mass deaths of elephant seals, as well as increased deaths of fur seals, kelp gulls and brown skua at several other sites. Researchers warn of one of ‘largest ecological disasters of modern times’ if the highly contagious disease reaches penguin colonies.

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