After weeks of rehabilitation many of the sea lions rescued from Southern California beaches earlier this year have regained their health and are being released back in the ocean.
- Between January 1 and March 24, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared an “unusual morbidity event” during which more than 900 malnourished and weak sea lions were rescued on the region’s beaches. By early April the Marine Mammal Center was providing medical care and nourishment for 165 seals and sea lions, more rescues than in any previous year in the Center’s history.
So far there is no evidence that the large number of strandings were due to underlying primary infectious disease or toxic insult.
A preliminary determination of the causes of the strandings points to a simple lack of food. In particular, extremely lows numbers of sardine and anchovies last year which resulted in female adult sea lions having a difficult time providing their pups enough nourishment.
The result was a large number of pups either underweight or weaned a month or two early. Those that survived were starving and ended up on the beaches extremely emaciated.
Sea lions are one of the top predators in the ocean. Their suffering is a clear sign something is very wrong with the world’s seas.
Source: Marine Mammal Center.