ABC: ‘Mysterious surge’ in sick marine mammals all along California coast — Infested with parasites, extremely emaciated; “Very seriously ill… in very bad shape” — Experts: “We’re extremely concerned right now” — Deaths up 1,500% at rescue facility — ‘Number mystifies officials’ (VIDEOS)

Published: January 13th, 2015 at 2:21 pm ET
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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.

Watch the ABC report here | NBC report here

Published: January 13th, 2015 at 2:21 pm ET
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