wildlife experts are investigating the mysterious deaths of about 700 New Zealand sea lion pups on a remote island in Auckland. A researcher at New Zealand's department of conservation found these mammals dead while he was studying sea lions at their main breeding colony on the island.
According to Nick Smith, conservation minister of New Zealand, the sea lions are the one of the most endangered creatures in the world. Their population ranges between 11,000 and 15,000. In a statement, the minister said, "We have a special responsibility to ensure New Zealand sea lions survive." Mike Donoghue, a government sea lion specialist, pointed out that there can be only three possible causes of the deaths: virus, bacteria or a toxic algae growth. But he said that the real cause of death would only be known after tests are conducted.
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