CBS Los Angeles, April 6, 2013: Radiation from Japan’s nuclear disaster is being looked at as one possible cause for what some experts are declaring an “unusual mortality event” after hundreds of ailing sea lion pups washed ashore in Southern California.
UTSanDiego, April 5, 2013: Declines in the number and availability of small schooling fish may have caused nursing pups to wean early and left them struggling to fish on their own. Other causes they’re investigating include infectious diseases, toxic algal blooms, and exposure to radiation or pollution.
NBC, April 8, 2013: More than 1,000 ailing sea lion pups have washed ashore in Southern California over the past three months, and a national fisheries expert says a lack of food source is likely the cause, not radiation as reported by some media outlets. [...] Over the weekend, some news outlets reported that radiation from Japan’s March 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster is also being looked at as a possible cause [...] NBC 7 San Diego spoke with Jim Milbury of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service who said experts “haven’t ruled out” the possibility of radiation affecting the sea lion pups. However, Milbury said it is highly unlikely that radiation is to blame. “Radiation is being looked at, just like everything else. We haven’t ruled it out, but we really don’t suspect this at all,” Milbury told NBC 7. “We don’t suspect radiation because this would also mean other animals in the ocean would be affected, especially in the oceans of Hawaii, closer to Japan, and we haven’t seen any of that.”
Published: April 8th, 2013 at 10:14 am ET
- TV: Record numbers of sickened sea lion pups in So. California — “Something has changed” — “We are prepping in the back of our heads for the worst case scenario” (VIDEOS) February 12, 2013
- Expert: “There’s just very few of the birds left” in the high contamination from Fukushima plant, “things are not looking good” — Spider webs looked ‘strange’ (PHOTO) — Animals response to radiation over twice as bad as in Chernobyl — “Implies effects are stronger in Fukushima” (VIDEO) May 7, 2014
- Paper: 35 sq. mile ‘mega-pod’ of dolphins related to sea lion deaths in California? Extraordinary changes seen in behavior of marine mammals — Pretty obvious something’s going on April 10, 2013
- 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
- NOAA: Beaches full of dead baby sea lions off California, many aborted fetuses — Garbage bags filled with animals along coast — Carts in freezer overflowing with bodies — Official: Pollution may well have had an effect… We deliberately didn’t test for it (VIDEO) June 8, 2015