Seaweek focuses on ocean, sealife health
At the end of February, New Zealand celebrates Seaweek and, this year’s theme is
‘‘ Toiora te Moana – Toiora te
Tangata – Healthy Seas, Healthy People’’, which reminds us that we should do all we can to help the seas to be a healthy environment for all the ocean’s creatures.
Sadly, not all is well with our oceans. Ocean pollution is largely caused by humans and can lead to the death of animals, fish and plants. About 80 per cent of ocean pollution starts on land then washes into the ocean, but ships, ocean drilling and deep sea mining all contribute to the problem.
We all love to see dolphins, orcas, whales, seals and sea lions, either from the shore, or when we are on the water, but have you ever wondered why marine mammals are found dead on New Zealand beaches?
A lot of research is being done to find out why, and there are many known causes of death of the marine mammals, such as infectious disease, injury and parasites, but some are not known.
At Wildbase Pathology, Massey University, research is being done on pinnipeds (seals & sea lions) and cetaceans (dolphins & whales).
Wildbase Pathology provides a diagnostic service to DoC and other Wildlife conservation and management institutions.
This includes post-mortem examinations of Hector’s and Maui’s dolphins and sea lions caught by commercial and recreational fisheries.
They also provide strategies for clinical care, welfare and post mortem examination of stranded marine mammals and they identify the diseases that may have contributed to their deaths.
On Tuesday, February 9, at Manawatu Forest and Bird’s monthly meeting, Dr Wendi Roe, senior lecturer in Anatomical Pathology, Institute of Vet, Animal & Biomedical Sciences at Massey, will talk about the causes of disease and death in marine mammals.
Wildbase staff satellite tag a healthy NZ sea lion on Enderby Island, part of the Auckland Islands archipelago.