CBS Los Angeles: “Dead sea lions everywhere” — Rescuer: I’ve never seen anything like this… we never would have imagined the numbers — Expert: No oceanographic explanation for what we’re seeing (VIDEO)

Published: March 30th, 2013 at 7:52 pm ET
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CBS Los Angeles, March 29, 2013: Starving, Dying Sea Lions Washing Up On Southland Beaches [...] “I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Jonsie Ross, one of the rescuers from the [California Wildlife Center]. “It just looks like malnutrition to me.” [...] “Even if I think people have been prepared, we never would have imagined the numbers that are coming up on the beach,” said Ross. Daniel Russell came from Malibu on Friday to enjoy a walk on the beach, but the sight of dead sea lions everywhere was too much for him. “It kind of ruined our walk around the corner actually. We were going to explore and then I went to take a picture and then there’s two dead lions I almost stepped on,” he told CBS 2. [...] And biologists say it is so bad on the beaches that rescuers have had to leave the worst of the pups behind while saving the strongest ones [...]

AP, March 29, 2013: [...] 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, [Sharon Melin, a wildlife biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service based in Seattle] said. [...] Routine testing of seafood is being done by state and federal agencies and consumer safety experts are working with NOAA to find the problem. “No link has been established at this time between these sea lion strandings and any potential seafood safety issues,” NOAA said in a statement. [...] rescuers have had to leave the worst of them in an effort to save the strongest ones, she said. [...]

“We anticipate this will get worse when the pups begin to wean from their mothers and have to forage on their own . It’s going to be a bad year or two for sea lions [...] There really isn’t an oceanographic explanation for what we’re seeing. We’re looking at disease as a possibility and also at the food supply, and it could be some combination.”-Sharon Melin, wildlife biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service, which is part of NOAA

Watch the CBS broadcast here

Published: March 30th, 2013 at 7:52 pm ET
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