US wildlife officials eye ongoing Alaska seabird die-off

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — U.S. wildlife officials are documenting a seabird die-off stretching hundreds of miles along the coast of Alaska.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seabird biologist Katherine Kuletz (KOO'-lets) says the die-off follows previous bird deaths over the past five years tied to warming ocean water.

The birds have been found emaciated but Kuletz says it's too early to rule out diseases that could cause seabirds to experience problems foraging.

Hundreds of thousands of seabirds died in late 2015 and early 2016.

Kuletz says the numbers this year range into the hundreds from the Bering Strait to the Gulf of Alaska.

She says it's unusual for seabirds to be dying over such a broad geographic area for so long.

Agencies are appealing to coastal communities to report dead and dying birds.

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