– Starving, Dying Sea Lions Washing Up On Southland Beaches (CBS News):
– Starving sea lion pups fill Calif. rescue centers (AP, March 29, 2013):
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hundreds of starving sea lion pups are washing up on beaches from San Diego to Santa Barbara, overwhelming rescue centers and leaving scientists scrambling to figure out why.
At island rookeries off the Southern California coast, 45 percent of the pups born in June have died, said Sharon Melin, a wildlife biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service based in Seattle. Normally, less than one-third of the pups would die.
It’s gotten so bad in the past two weeks that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared an “unusual mortality event.” That will allow more scientists to join the search for the cause, Melin said.
Pups are normally weaned from their mothers in April.
Even the pups that are making it are markedly underweight, Melin said.
The most recent pups weighed at the breeding area on San Miguel Island were around 37 pounds, Melin said. They should weigh between 55 and 59 pounds by now, she said.
Read moreHundreds Of Starving, Dying Sea Lions Washing Up On Beaches From San Diego To Santa Barbara