NBC News, March 16, 2013: Along Southern California’s pristine coastline, ailing sea lions are turning up in record numbers. “We have a lot of little pups this year,” said veterinarian Lauren Palmer [...] Usually, around this time of year, there might be a dozen sick sea lions in San Pedro, said David Bard, operations director for the San Pedro Marine Mammal Care Center. But so far, the care center has taken in nearly 200 and counting. Last week alone, there were 50 new cases. [...] Last week, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach declared their organization in a “state of emergency” as it continues to see an onslaught of California sea lion pups in need of medical attention.
CBS Los Angeles, March 12, 2013: Marine Mammal Center Declares State Of Emergency For Sea Lion Pups [...] “It’s absolutely in crisis mode in our center, there are currently 88 marine mammals being treated there,” said head of development Melissa Sciacca [...] Sciacca also says that most of the sea lion pups are coming ashore severely malnourished and dehydrated, and that the problem has reached “epidemic proportions” along the Orange County coast.
KPCC, March 12, 2013: “The overall numbers we’re seeing this year are just very, very elevated,” said Sarah Wilkin, who studies sea lion populations for the National Marine Fishery Service for California. “For these facilities to be so overwhelmed at this time of year is very strange.” This is typically the slow season for stranded sea lions, according to Wilkin. Not this year.
NBC 7 San Diego, March 12, 2013: “We don’t know what the problem is now,” said Susan Chivers, a biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service. [...] Chivers said marine mammal experts are beginning to discuss the problem and gather data to try and better understand why the pups are dying. [...] “There’s something going on oceanographically that there’s not sufficient food available for the moms to nurse their pups or the pups, as they’re starting to eat on their own, to find,” said Chivers.
OC Register, March 11, 2013: If the pace of stranded sea lions remains at roughly nine times more than normal [...] “There’s really not any indication that it’s slowing down,” [Pacific Marine Mammal Center spokeswoman Melissa] Sciacca said.
Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot, March 11, 2013: Center: Surge of sea lions leads to state of emergency [...] The Pacific Marine Mammal Center declared a state of emergency Monday due to the influx of malnourished and dehydrated sea lion pups coming ashore on Orange County beaches. The facility on Laguna Canyon Road – the only marine mammal care center for Orange County – admitted 18 sea lions Saturday and Sunday. Twelve came in on Saturday, the largest single-day total in the center’s 42-year history, according to a press release. [...] The [Marine Mammal Care Center at] Fort MacArthur center is the one facility for all of Los Angeles County and is experiencing a similar surge in admitted sea lion pups. The center has taken in more than 280 animals since the beginning of the year, said director David Bard.
NBC News: “There is apparently a good supply of things like squid and sardines, and the fish that these animals normally eat.” -Expert
Published: March 17th, 2013 at 1:23 pm ET