At least 60 seals found dead in western Alaska

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At least 60 ice seals have been reported dead along the western Alaska coast.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that they are investigating the deaths of the seals. Dead seals reported include: bearded, ringed and spotted seals.

NOAA said that they received reports from a hunter that had counted 18 seal carcasses on the shore north of Kotlik. The hunter also reported dozens of seals on the shores of Stuart Island. Dead ice seals have also been reported along the coast from Kotzebue to Point Hope.

NOAA is working with the Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Partners to document and conduct necropsies on as many of the animals as possible.

Officials said ice seals are an essential resource for Alaska Native communities.

The cause of the deaths is still unknown.