Cold stress accounts for at least 39 of the deaths, or about 10%. For 277 others, almost 70%, the cause is unknown. Biologist suspect the sea cows are starving to death as the marine mammal’s main diet of seagrass wilts under ongoing years-long ecological collapse, driven by excess algae.
As higher than normal winter snowpack begins to melt, some property owners in the Annie Lake Road and South Klondike Highway area are already seeing a return of the water that flowed freely across their land last spring. The government is collecting drone footage for possible correction of McConnell Lake drainage.