Sixty-eight marine mammals stranded on the Oregon beaches were examined at necropsy. Gunshot was the primary cause of death in 30% of the pinnipeds examined. Bacterial infections (27%) and parasitism (27%) were also of major importance in the death and debilitation of Oregon marine mammals. Traumatic death or debilitation other than gunshot was observed in 11 animals(16%). Predation, starvation due to neonatal abandonment, viral encephalitis (presumptive diagnosis), dystocia and neoplasia were diagnosed as primary or contributory causes of stranding.

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Author notes


This study was financed in part by grants from the Oregon State University Graduate School (1973-1975), the Oregon State University Research Council (1975-1976) and National Marine Fisheries Service, Marine Mammal Division Contract #577 (1976-1977).


Technical paper no. 4880 Agricultural Experiment Station, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA.