What’s Eviscerating Britain’s Seals?

Photo by Andreas Trepte, courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Scores of dead seals are washing up on British shores eviscerated and skinned with ghastly corkscrew injuries, as if passed through a giant pencil sharpener, reports the UK’s Daily Mail. Police and scientists are investigating the disturbing phenomenon.

In Scotland, the problem is bad enough to arouse concern over the survival of the common seal, which is no longer so common. From the Daily Mail:

Callan Duck, senior research scientist at the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) at St Andrews University, said: “We simply don’t know what is causing this. We are finding seals coming ashore dead with these highly unusual lacerations right around their body like a spiral. From their head down they can have one or two complete revolutions to their abdomen. It is a continuous cut with a very smooth edge.”

The injuries don’t match any known killers such as fishing nets or boat propellers. Researchers believe they’re mechanically produced by a rotating single blade, perhaps by the animals being sucked into the propeller blade of an as yet unidentified vessel. The bodies of more than 50 common and grey seals have been found on the Norfolk coast since November. Thirteen have so far been the subject of necropsies, but most were too mutilated to provide answers. In the Firth of Tay this summer, seven were found dead out of a breeding population of only 150. 

Similar unsolved seal deaths have been reported off the Atlantic coast of Canada in the past ten years, reports the Telegraph.

The Sun reports that tidal power generators, or tide turbines, have been ruled out as culprits too. But no one else reports that. So I wonder.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate