Environmentalists are alarmed about the large scale deaths of some hundreds of leopard sharks that have been washing up dead in San Francisco Bay area. This is the highest death roll for these sharks in the last six years. This event is concerning because of its large numbers which mark the biggest yet decline of the leopard shark population. And it started happening not even two months ago.
Leopard Sharks Most Likely Affected By Toxins
Specialists consider toxins as the biggest problem and the probable cause of this situation. Both mature adults and newborns sharks may be dying because of them. The Pelagic Shark Research Foundation stated that the sharks died after consuming food infected with chemical waste. Trash and debris piled up in the Bay Area from waterways and drains.
“This is an issue of San Francisco Bay sharks and associated wildlife being exposed to toxic watershed … due to Tide Gate entrapment and subsequent discharges into the San Francisco Bay,” mentioned the foundation.
This problem is getting serious considering the fact that hundreds of leopard sharks have already died. Unfortunately, this shows, once again, that human activity may endanger and even kill animals. Environmentalists mentioned that more and more sharks are probably going to die. This is their usual pupping season. Because of it, leopard shark specimens are gathering to breed and mate during spring and summer. On their way, they can pass through shallow waterways, which can harbor the toxins.
Rainy seasons can increase the level of toxins found in these waters. As these toxins are washed out from the ground into the bay, they eventually make their way into fish. As these can get eaten by the sharks, they too are affected and infected. Sharks, like any other animals species, are important for the food chain, and this high die-off could bring unexpected consequences.
Sharks aren’t the only victims as other marine animals have washed up dead in San Francisco Bay as well. These included some manta rays and halibuts. The dead marine animals washed up in the San Francisco Bay area despite the fact that its waters are clean. Specialists named human-made lagoons, sloughs, and the saltwater marshes as the most likely source of the infection.
Image Source: Wikimedia
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