Ringed seal (Phoca hispida) found with jelly-like meat texture and thin skin near the armpit and ribcage.
Observation by Ellen Napolean, shared by Jacqueline Shirley:
So I planned on getting the meat off of both the (bearded and ringed) seals and leave the oil on skins until tomorrow and deal with the maklak qiluq (intestine of the bearded seal). I did the maklak (bearded seal) first, then started on the nayiq (ringed seal). As soon as I started cutting one foot off I knew something wasn't right. The skin was way too easy to cut through. Kept cutting and the right side meat near the armpit and ribcage was like jelly! A whole bunch of it. We threw all of it away. Didn't want to take chances. Wonder what would make it do that? Radiation? Should just send it off to my cousin Albert so he can ship it to wherever he sends samples to. I felt sad for the seal. And other marine life. And us. The maklak is fine. Finish working on it tomorrow.
I talked to a lady at fish and wildlife today and when I told her, she thought like I did last night that it was from blunt-force trauma. Don't know whats up with the ultra thin and easy to cut through skin. She thought that it wasn't healing well from whatever trauma, hence the smell. There were no markings on the outside and the internal organs seemed fine. She said to take photos next time and send it to them. Another lady here said they encountered the same thing, so it might be something other than blunt force trauma.
Gay Sheffield, with the Marine Advisory Program, writes:
The meat texture described could be the result of an injury to the seal which left a bruise. Other times, this texture can be found in the meat near where the animal was shot. It sounds like Ellen is very familiar with this process and would likely be able to recognize a change in meat texture from the bullet wound. Without seeing the affected meat, my guess would be that this texture is the result of bruising in that area.