ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska’s northern fur seal population for three decades has been classified as depleted, but the marine mammals are showing up in growing numbers at an unlikely location: a tiny island that forms the tip of an active undersea volcano.
Vents on Bogoslof Island continue to spew mud, steam and sulfurous gases two years after an eruption sent ash clouds into the path of jetliners passing over the Bering Sea. Still, northern fur seal moms find the remote island’s rocky beaches perfect for giving birth and mothering pups.
“The population growth of northern fur seals on Bogoslof has been extraordinary,” said Tom Gelatt, who leads a NOAA Fisheries group that studies northern fur seals. Federal scientists visited the island in Augu