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Investigations on health status and infection risk of seals in the Lower Saxony Wadden Sea

Projectdata

Project leader: Prof. Prof. h. c. Dr. Ursula Siebert
Scientific work: veterinarian Anja Reckendorf
Projekt term: September 2015 through April 2017
Sponsorship: Ministry for food, Agriculture and consumer protection of Lower Saxony

Project description

 

Harbor seals are the most abundant native seal species in the Wadden Sea of Lower Saxony. The population of harbor seals was decimated by the 1988/89 and 2002 phocine distemper virus (PDV) epidemics. In 1988 almost 60% of harbor seals in the entire Wadden Sea area died, in 2002 approximately half of native animals were found dead. Harbor seals in the Wadden Sea were affected by influenza H10N7 infections for the first time in 2014. After each of these losses, however, the population was able to recover. Harbor seals are also susceptible to infectious diseases occurring more sporadically and can harbor pathogens communicable to humans.

The research is conducted by University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation, jointly with Seal Station National Park House Norden-Norddeich, LAVES IFF Cuxhaven and LAVES LVI Hannoer, as well as the National Park Administration for the Wadden Sea in Lower Saxony, Wilhelmshaven. Funding is provided by the Ministry for Nutrition, Agriculture and Consumer Protection of Lower Saxony using hunting permit fees. Rescued harbor seals will be examined to determine health status, emphasizing acquisition of zoonosis and infectious agent data. Further, macro-debris found in these animals will be registered and indications of gray seal predation examined. Results will be incorporated in the development of a management program for hygiene and infectious diseases.

Contact person

Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover
Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research
Werftstr. 6
25761 Büsum

 

Anja Reckendorf

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Anschrift
Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover
Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research
Werftstr. 6
25761 Büsum
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