Orange County Register, Jan 10, 2015 (emphasis added): 8 sea lions rescued in OC in just over a week; number mystifies officials — It’s not normal for eight sea lions to need rescuing in just over a week — especially at this time of year. But that’s exactly what has happened… six were pups and yearlings… [one] only 21 pounds, and [another] 23 pounds… [Experts don't] know why it’s happening.
ABC 7′s Greg Lee, Jan 12, 2015: Sad, sad photo: Huge increase in rescued #sealions across CA
ABC Los Angeles, Jan 12, 2015: Sea lions in distress — a mysterious surge in sick sea lions… here in S. California and statewide… New at 5, a big increase in the number of stranded sea lions being rescued… Some of them very seriously ill… nearly a dozen sea lions at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. Facilities across California are reporting a massive increase in the number of sea lions needing to be rescued in 2015… Baby sea lions [are] in very bad shape.
Kirsten Sedlick, PMMC supervisor: We’re extremely concerned right now, absolutely. It’s not just us, it’s other stranding networks, we’re all very concerned…Since January 1st, we’ve had 11 stranded California sea lions; last January we had 4 total [On pace for 30 in January, over 7 times last year's total]… They are extremely emaciated, we’ve noticed there’s been a high parasite infestation in them as well and some upper respiratory infections.
NBC Los Angeles: Jan 12, 2015: More and more ailing sea lions are showing up along California shores. Marine mammal centers say this is well above normal. What’s making these sea lions so sick?… Experts say this is a year they are concerned about a UME… an unusual mortality event. They arrive malnourished and with parasites. Workers at the PMMC are treating twice as many California sea lions as a year ago… We know there was a conference call among all of the stranding sites up and down the coast here in California. The consensus is that this is happening all over the state.
In the first 9 days of 2015, 20 patients were admitted to the Marine Mammal Care Center near L.A. If this rate of 2.22/day continues, January’s total will be ~70 — over 5 times Jan 2014. At the Marine Mammal Center in the Bay Area, 15 patients died in just over a month at the end of 2014. The previous year saw one death in the same period.
Published: January 13th, 2015 at 2:21 pm ET
- Gov’t: It’s getting “even worse” on West Coast this year — Experts say over 35,000 baby sea lions could be dead; “This phenomenon is unprecedented in scale” — Hundreds of times more pups than usual at rescue center — Doctor: “Definitely indicates ocean not normal… Really, we should be worried” (AUDIO) March 4, 2015
- TV: “Animals basically dying on our beaches” along West Coast — “New, worse calamity seems to be unfolding” — Experts: “Like walking skeletons”; “So hungry they gnaw on rocks”; “Skin hanging off”; “Extremely unusual… maybe the fish have all left”; “Prepare for the worst” (VIDEOS) February 1, 2015
- Surge in whale deaths along West Coast — Experts: “So many in such a small area is setting off alarms… We really don’t know what’s going on” — Professor: “I’m not sure this is just a natural event… There may be a disease in ocean” — Gov’t: “We’re not even concerned about it” (VIDEOS) May 29, 2015
- Skyrocketing deaths on West Coast — Experts: “Extreme Mortality Event… dying in such high numbers… such great numbers… very concerned” — “It’s so mysterious… What is going on here?!” — “Possibilities like fallout from Fukushima” — Only 2 full necropsies on 700 deaths (VIDEOS) September 2, 2015
- FOX San Diego: Sardines, crayfish “disappeared from Pacific Ocean… they’ve just vanished” — Marine mammals starving, struggling to survive on West Coast — Strandings in past 5 weeks already exceed what’s normally seen for an entire year — “Much larger” than anything on record (VIDEOS) February 10, 2015