NBC: Record level of sick or injured California seals and sea lions turning up — “The numbers are extraordinary” — “Scientists worried… The worst kind of perfect storm” — Pups should be weighing 2 or 3 times as much, “severely malnourished” (VIDEO)

Saturday, April 19, 2014
By Paul Martin

ENENews.com
April 18th, 2014

NBC Bay Area, Apr. 18, 2014: Seals and sea lions in California are turning up sick or injured at a record pace this year. Sausalito’s Marine Mammal Center has more animals in its care right now than ever before in its 39-year history. There are three factors at play: First of all, this is the time of year when pups get stranded or separated from their mothers for an unknown reason. Also last year’s sea lion epidemic sent malnourished, sick pups onto California shores at record levels. On top of that, a Monterey Bay algae bloom is making a lot of animals sick. Experts say it’s creating the worst kind of perfect storm.

NBC Southern California, Apr. 17, 2014: Scientists Worry Sea Lion Epidemic May Return […] Marine scientists are worried about the increasing number of sick, often severely malnourished, sea lions showing up at a San Pedro care facility. […] An increase in the number of stranded sea lion pups in Southern California has scientists and marine mammal experts asking the question, “Could it be happening again?” […] The center was caring for more than 200 mammals Thursday, most of them California sea lion pups. […] During a normal year, in comparison, the center takes in about 250 animals total. […] Experts hope what they were dealing with last year was an anomaly rather than a new normal for California’s sea lion pup population.

Kaitlin Rixon, National Marine Mammal Foundation volunteer: “Right now, when we are doing intake, we are seeing the sea lion pups to be around 20 pounds. They should be around 50 pounds, so they are severely malnourished.”

David Bard, director of Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro: “It was definitely linked to food availability or the distribution of their normal food source last year.[…] Is it related to human activity along the coastline […] or is it something of a natural source?”

Jeff Boehm, Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito: The numbers are extraordinary […] “Out of the gates this year, it’s a record-setting pace. We don’t know what May is going to bring us yet. We don’t what June is going to bring us yet. We’ve had peaks of activity as late as October.”

The Rest…HERE

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