Thu Feb 14, 2013, 04:54 PM
question everything (29,013 posts)
Wave of Stranded Sea Lions Baffles Southern California
Sickly sea-lion pups have been getting stranded in record numbers on the coast of Southern California this winter, overwhelming marine-rescue centers and surprising residents who have found them hiding under parked cars, crossing roads and, in at least one case, sitting in a flower pot.
The Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro, Calif., says it has admitted 92 malnourished sea lions since the start of January, with 12 of those arriving last Saturday. The year-to-date total is usually about 10 to 12 in normal years, the center says. The Pacific Marine Mammal Center, a nonprofit rescue group in Laguna Beach, has received 38 sea lions since the start of the year, up from six over the same period last year.
Sarah Wilkin, the National Marine Fisheries Service's marine mammal stranding coordinator, surmises the young sea lions might be having difficulty finding prey because of changes in wind or ocean patterns, though her agency hasn't noticed any such changes lately.. Ms. Wilkin also says the timing of the strandings is unusual: Sea-lion pups typically get stranded in such numbers in the fall, when they first separate from their mothers and venture out into the ocean to catch food on their own. Sea lions are usually born from May to August, she says.
Caring for the young sea lions is expensive. David Bard, the director of operations at San Pedro's Marine Mammal Care Center, says the organization is soliciting donations of cash as well as heavy-duty hoses, vitamin D, fish-oil capsules and corn syrup, to boost the pups' blood-sugar levels when they get low. Mr. Bard says sea lions eat 10% of their body weight a day—mostly small fish like herring—a cost that adds up when the animals approach 100 pounds. The center has been relying on a cadre of volunteers to nurse the sea lions back to health before depositing them back into the ocean.
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Wave of Stranded Sea Lions Baffles Southern California (Original post)
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Response to question everything (Original post)
Thu Feb 14, 2013, 05:00 PM
cbayer (146,218 posts)
2. We had one who took up residence in our dinghy for awhile.
We were really worried about him, but the local person who knows these things said they did not think he was sick, just separated.
We ended up taking him out to a larger colony, but he wanted to stay where he was.
FWIW, the waters out here are teeming with fish and sea lions.