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Arctic Parasites Increasing

February 19, 2014

Cat Litter Killer in Whales of the North

Full Article at http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/cat_litter_killer_in_whales_of_the_north_20140215

By Tim Radford

The great Arctic thaw – up to 50% of sea ice by area and 75% by volume in the summer season – could be offering new opportunities for one of the planet’s most successful parasites. Toxoplasma gondii, an infection spread by almost all cat species, has been identified for the first time in the western Arctic Beluga whale.

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The suspicion is that with the steady, sustained warming of the Arctic over the past 30 years, chiefly because of a buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the retreat of the ice has begun to allow new traffic in parasite infections.

Another parasitic killer, a new strain called Sarcocystis pinnipedi, normally found only in the highest, iciest latitudes, has been linked with mass deaths too: 406 grey seals died in 2012 in the north Atlantic. It has also been observed to kill Steller’s sea lions, Hawaiian monk seals, walruses, grizzly bears and polar bears as far south as British Columbia.

Full Article at http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/cat_litter_killer_in_whales_of_the_north_20140215

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