Mar 22

100% death rate of baby seals on California coast — “None have survived” — “Many are starving, suffering from shortage of food in Pacific Ocean” — “Extremely thin… all sorts of illnesses, infections” — “Milkless moms immediately abandoning pups” — TV: “The problem is getting worse” (VIDEOS):

KION, Mar 17, 2016 (emphasis added): Sea lion moms and pups struggling to survive…  Bay Net, a volunteer group of naturalists, are keeping a watchful eye on them at the Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove. They say the start of the season has been rough. “Some of them have been way too thin to have a healthy birth and have enough milk to feed it,” said Bay Net volunteer Thom Akeman. So far this season 13 pups have been born but none of them have survived. Many seals are underweight and starving, suffering from a shortage of food in the Pacific Ocean… “When they get extremely thin they’re open to all sorts of illnesses and infections,” said [volunteer Marg] Brigadier … The group Harbor Seals of Pacific Grove has been documenting the unusually high rate of dying pups on Facebook.

Chronological updates from Facebook page ‘Harbor Seals of Pacific Grove

  • Jan 25: The first live birth hit Hopkins beach… [The mom] was not nursing it… The pup is very premature and does not appear fully developed…
  • Jan 26: The premature pup from last night was gone. It had been washed away but there was a second premature birth… [The mom] clearly did not have any milk… what concerns us is the overall look of the seals. So many of the seals appear thin
  • Jan 30: I am sorry to report that our 3rd premature pup was born… This was by far the smallest pup I have ever observed. It did not last longer then [sic] about 5 minutes.
  • Jan 31: [W]e had our 4th premature pup born at Hopkins Beach… [it] died very quickly…
  • Feb 3: We continue to see very thin adult seals
  • Feb 19: Our 5th premature pup was on the Hopkins beach tonight [and] will not survive…
  • Feb 23: Two more premature pups were born… I will spare you the photos… no moms were able to care for them… Saturday, a very young emaciated sea lion pup was discovered at Lovers Point. Washed ashore on the beach were a lot of red crab… if this trend continues in our oceans, many, many more animals will perish
  • Mar 4: [P]remature pup #8 was born… and yesterday morning premature pup #9 was born… Neither of these pups survived and in both cases the moms abandoned them right away… Many of the harbor seals continue to look thin and it becoming painfully clear that we may have lost a portion of our adult seals as they have not returned to the rookery for the past 1 to 2 years… and have been constant fixtures on Hopkins beach… the warming of the oceans and lack of food are taking their toll on the harbor seals as well as, the seal lions and the waterfowl.
  • Mar 8: #10 was born… Once again, this pup was abandoned and is very premature. It will go the way of the 9 pups preceding it… It has already been abandoned…
  • Mar 10: After 10 live births this year where milkless moms immediately abandoned the pups, this mom stayed on Hopkins beach with the 11th live birth of the season… We watched the pup until after 6pm with no successful nursing…
  • Mar 15: I do not think our two pups (#11 with the mom and #12 the abandoned pup) will be with us… I did not see them… Yesterday, pup #12 was in the center of the beach looking very lethargic and pup #11 just never seemed to thrive or put any weight on…

KION transcript, Mar 16, 2016: The problem is getting worse. “Last year was unprecedented for us, we had 359. This year we’re already at 160, and it’s only the middle of March.”

Watch KION’s broadcasts: One | Two

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