– “Dead animals litter California beaches… Alarming phenomenon” — “Graveyard of washed-up sea life” — “Influx of malnourished sea creatures” — Experts: We’re really starting to worry… The animals are starving to death… Covered in sores… Stunted growth… Weak immune systems (VIDEOS):
NBC L.A., Apr 19, 2016 (emphasis added): Officials are investigating why sick sea lions are washing up onshore… The Laguna Beach Pacific Marine Mammal Center has an overflow of sea lions… The reason for the influx of sea lions remains a disappearing cold water food source… Another unusual phenomenon they are seeing: Elephant and harbor seals are coming into the centers in addition to California sea lions, and that is not typical.
NBC L.A. transcript, Apr 19, 2016: “Now, an alarming number of sea lions are washing up along our local beaches… it is taking longer to rehabilitate these sick sea lions… Experts say [they are] taking longer to become healthier.”
Laguna Beach Independent, Apr 23, 2016: Most are malnourished and many are infected with parasites, [said Keith Matassa, Pacific Marine Mammal Center]… “The rehabbing process is slower this year because the sea lions are coming in older and sicker.”
Salon, Apr 21, 2016: Dead animals litter California beaches — California is in its third straight year of “unusual mortality” rates for sea lions. The dismal state was first declared in January of 2013 and death rates have increased each year since… It looks like 2016 will be worse… They are starving to death. The same goes for birds… California beaches are littered with dead sea lions and birds. Watch our video for more on this alarming phenomenon. [Video transcript: (Stephen Scheiblauer, Monterey Harbormaster:) “We’re seeing a greater mortality of sea lions… also some kinds of birds… We bury [sea lions]… dig a big trench and bury it.”]
Pepperdine University’s student newspaper (‘The Graphic‘), Mar 28, 2016: A walk on Point Dume’s beach [Malibu, California] recently resembles a graveyard of washed-up sea life. On the stretch of the Pacific Coast… dead sea lions, tuna crabs and crows littered on the sand, a defunctive and rotten smell permeating the sea air… [S]tranded sea lions have become a regular sight for those who frequent Point Dume, as beach-goers stretch their towels yards away from the rotting corpses. “This has been a coast-wide problem for the past four years,” Seasonal Assistant Marine Coordinator Colleen Weiler said.
KRON, Apr 11, 2016: Marine Mammal Center dealing with influx of malnourished sea creatures… Hundreds of elephant seals, harbor seals, and sea lions are [at the center]… Rescue crews are bringing them in daily because they simply don’t have enough to eat… Dr. Shawn Johnson is the lead veterinarian at the center and said the animals are starving…
The Channels Newspaper, Apr 22, 2016: Rescued seals are brought [in] with seaborne diseases… causing bumps and blisters on the face, neck and flippers…
Marin Independent Journal, Apr 10, 2016: Marine Mammal Center coping with relentness influx of ailing sea lions… “They are skin and bones, they are malnourished, they have secondary infections like pneumonia because their immune systems are suppressed,” said [Dr. Shawn Johnson]… the sea lions appear to be experiencing stunted growth… “These are the smallest pups we have seen in 41 years of study,” [NOAA’s Sharon Melin] said.
The Marine Mammal Center, Mar 29, 2016: This is the fourth year in a row that we’ve seen California sea lions in crisis… [This year] these animals are also unusually small… essentially fur-covered skeletons—they seem to be experiencing stunted growth… pup weights are the lowest ever documented… [T]he spike in sea lion strandings began before the current El Niño pattern took hold and even before the warm water “blob” began to form… “After four years of sea lions in crisis, the initial shock of seeing so many starving sea lions is over and now we’re really starting to worry about long-term impacts on the population as a whole,” says Dr. Shawn Johnson, Director of Veterinary Science at the Center.
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