California pelicans fail to mate, animals dying ‘like a horror show’ – is Fukushima to blame?
by: Jonathan Benson
Sunday, June 15, 2014
The “fun in the sun” lifestyle that Southern California is known for apparently no longer applies to the region’s seabirds, many of which are disappearing at an alarming rate. New reports indicate that the vast majority of California pelicans have simply stopped reproducing, with less than 1 percent of the usual number of baby pelicans turning up for the season.
Between 80 and 90 percent of Southern California’s brown pelicans hail from Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, which abuts California’s southern border. The birds typically breed here in the tens of thousands and travel north, making their homes along the coast. But this year, very few baby pelicans emerged from the peninsula, a phenomenon that seasoned professor Dan Anderson says is unusual.
“It’s been almost a nearly complete failure to breed, which is quite unusual actually,” stated the instructor from the University of California at Davis to 89.3 KPCC. “At one island that we study, Isla Salvatierra, which would normally have 8,000-10,000 young, only had like 20 young,” he added.
Unsure as to what might be causing this lack of reproduction, some are speculating that depleted fish food sources, which include small fish like sardines and anchovies, may be responsible. Other areas where adult pelicans are actually swarming in higher-than-normal numbers reveal that many of them are just hanging out rather than nesting or rearing young, lending credence to this hypothesis.