Marine mammal deaths reported by The Marine Mammal Center (Sausalito, Calif) since June 2014 (domoic acid-related deaths excluded):
- (12) Abscess: Collection of pus… in the tissue of the body
- (1) Carcinoma: Cancer that begins… when altered or damaged DNA occurs to such an extent that the cells become transformed, and begin to exhibit abnormal malignant properties.
- (1) Cardiomyopathy: “Heart muscle disease”… deterioration… of the… heart muscle… usually leading to heart failure
- (1) Coccidioidomycosis: Fungal disease… Serious complications may occur in patients with weakened immune systems
– TV: Huge increase in dead and sick sea mammals on California coast — Unprecedented numbers, annual record broken in 7 months — Starving, drooling, brain damaged, suffering seizures — Sea lions ‘mysteriously’ vanishing on other side of Pacific — Experts: We don’t know what’s happening (VIDEO) (ENENews, Aug 3, 2014):
Santa Cruz Sentinel, Aug. 1, 2014: The Marine Mammal Center […] has seen a record-breaking number of patients this year, with 727 admitted through July. In 2013, the center admitted 521 animals. There’s a large number of starving, young sea lions and an algal bloom in Monterey is making adult sea lions sick.
Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 23, 2014: ”We’ve had a record number this year in sea lion admits,” [Marine Mammal Center spokeswoman Laura Sherr] said. The majority of the ailing sea lions have been impacted by a neurological disease caused by large blooms of domoic acid, which is produced by algae. She said the center has also rescued an increasing number of stranded sea lion pups. […]
Read moreTV: Huge increase in dead and sick sea mammals on California coast — Unprecedented numbers, annual record broken in 7 months — Starving, drooling, brain damaged, suffering seizures — Sea lions ‘mysteriously’ vanishing on other side of Pacific — Experts: We don’t know what’s happening
– S. California fishermen ‘skunked… haven’t seen a squid’, usually 10,000+ lbs/day — ‘Complete crashes’ at oyster hatcheries — Sardines, mackerel missing in areas — Pelican sites alarmingly deserted — Record # of sick sea lions — Ultra-rare whales appear after decades — Mammals, birds, fish in odd places (ENENews, June 17, 2014):
KPBS, June 11, 2014: Unusual Fish Catches Off San Diego Signal Large-Scale El Niño […] “We’ve already started to see very unusual fish catches here,” [Tim Barnett, Scripps Institution of Oceanography said.] “Yellowfin tuna was caught in May — that has never happened before to anybody’s recollection [and] dorado Mahi Mahi — first of June […] has never happened” […]
Pete Thomas Outdoors, June 13, 2014: Unusual catches, whales in odd places, pelican woes could be signs that impending El Niño will be significant […] mammals, birds and fish showing up where they don’t typically belong […] Earlier this week two Bryde’s whales [were] off Huntington Beach […] Sightings off California, however, are extremely rare. […] between 1991 and 2005, there was only one […] Less than a week earlier, a large pod of pilot whales showed off Dana Point […] nearly 20 years since they were last spotted off Southern California. In late March, false killer whales, another ultra-rare visitor [were] off Orange County. […] Sam Anderson, a UC Davis biologist […] would typically encounter tens of thousands of breeding pairs of pelicans, there were only sparse numbers. Some nesting sites were alarmingly deserted. […] Anderson, however, was reluctant to place all of the blame for the pelicans’ plight on the developing El Niño.
Read moreS. California fishermen ‘skunked… haven’t seen a squid’, usually 10,000+ lbs/day — ‘Complete crashes’ at oyster hatcheries — Sardines, mackerel missing in areas — Pelican sites alarmingly deserted — Record # of sick sea lions — Ultra-rare whales appear after decades — Mammals, birds, fish in odd places
– Over 50 dead seals, sea lions, whales, walrus recently stranded in Alaska — Dozens of seals suffering from baldness, skin sores — Experts: “Marine transported Fukushima radionuclides… may represent a new stressor to ecosystem” (ENENews, May 6, 2014):
Poster for Alaska Marine Science Symposium, Jan. 20, 2014: Based on modeled radionuclide concentrations the dose to Northern Pinnipeds on ice was less than the ERICA risk assessment no-effects level of 10 uGy/hr with the following caveats: 1) Source terms for the Fukushima nuclear accident release vary greatly creating uncertainty in the models. 2) Knowledge gaps exist on extrapolating radiation dose to marine mammals. 3) Exposure to hot particles was not addressed. 4) Cannot rule out that increased radiological exposure in combination with a mixture of other contaminants represented an immunotoxic and thyroid disease risk during the period the animals were living on the ice. 5) Ionizing radiation associated risk for skin defects (i.e. epilation, skin lesions) due to contact and external exposure can also not be excluded. *Marine transported Fukushima radionuclides entering the Bering and Chukchi Seas in the future may represent a new stressor to the ecosystem.
– Alarm as record numbers of seals & sea lions ‘starving to death’ along California coast — “It’s just spiked… calls started coming nonstop” — “So many unhealthy… washing ashore” — “Extremely complex issue… multitude of factors in play” — “Definitely a mystery, we’re hoping it’s not the new norm” (ENENews, May 4, 2014):
Orange County Register, May 2, 2014: Sea lions are […] washing ashore, many of them pups dehydrated, malnourished and on the brink of death. The year started off quieter than last year, and the Pacific Marine Mammal Center’s director of development, Melissa Sciacca, thought they were in the clear – until about a month ago, when the calls started coming in nonstop. […] “We thought it was going to be a nice calm year; in the last month it’s just spiked,” she said. “The rescues just keep coming in at a steady pace.” It’s the second year stranded sea lions have been reported in alarming numbers. […] Last year, scientists tested for radioactivity, and it was determined that wasn’t the cause, and infectious disease was also ruled out.
– NYTimes: Unprecedented concentration of sea creatures near shore in California; Experts baffled, longtime residents astounded — Biologist: “It’s a very strange year… The $64,000 question is why?” — Similar to ‘extraordinary’ events seen recently along Canada’s Pacific coast? (VIDEO) (ENENews, Nov 25 ,2013):
New York Times, November 24, 2013: It began with the anchovies, miles and miles of them […] in the waters of Monterey Bay. Then the sea lions came, by the thousands […] the pelicans […] bottlenose dolphins [in groups of 100 or more have been spotted] […] But it was the whales that astounded even longtime residents — more than 200 humpbacks […] and, on a recent weekend, a pod of 19 rowdy orcas […] the water in every direction roiled with mammals […] For almost three months, Monterey and nearby coastal areas have played host to a mammoth convocation of sea life that scientists here say is unprecedented in their memories […] never that anyone remembers have there been this many or have they stayed so long […] Last month, so many anchovies crowded into Santa Cruz harbor that the oxygen ran out, leading to a major die-off. Marine researchers are baffled about the reason for the anchovy explosion. […]
– 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.