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. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Jan 09

Sickened animals “unlike anything doctors have ever seen” on West Coast — “They’re eating themselves from the inside” — Cancers… liver, pancreas, intestines shut down… infested with parasites and immune to antibiotics — Unprecedented catastrophe to cause loss of 200,000 sea lions (VIDEO):

Al Jazeera, Jan 6, 2016 (emphasis added): In warming ocean, record number of seals and sea lions sicken and starve — Ailing or dead seals and sea lions washed up on California beaches in record numbers in 2015; this year could be worse… They are brought in with all sorts of problems: lockjaw, poisoning, cancer… But most of the record number of seals and sea lions washing up on California’s shores and being brought to a regional rescue center are starving… this slow-motion catastrophe is likely to continue… In 2015, [NOAA] counted more than 4,200 California sea lions, 90 Guadalupe fur seals, and 70 northern fur seals. The [Marine Mammal Center’s] staff began to realize something was different early in the year… the pups brought in for rescue were unlike anything the veterinarians had ever seen… It was the worst year in the center’s 40-year history, staff said… Only half the usual number of sea lion pups were born off the California coast in 2015, [Dr. Shawn Johnson, director of veterinary science at the Marine Mammal Center] said… veterinarians at the Marine Mammal Center are bracing for the worst. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Apr 04


13 baby gray whales and 55 dolphins found dead on West Coast — “Rash of dead humpback whales in Oregon” — “Corpses of sea lions, birds, sea turtles decomposing” — Mysterious deaths probed by gov’t — “Fear for whales encountering ‘radiation hot spots’…Volunteers trained about dangers of radiation” (VIDEO) (ENENews, April 4, 2015):

New Mexico St. Univ., Mar 15, 2015 (emphasis added): What’s Killing Baja’s Marine Animals? Dead gray whales and dolphins. Corpses of sea lions, birds and sea turtles decomposing on the beach. Since the beginning of the year, the coasts of Baja California have been the scene of multiple discoveries of dead marine animals. The latest find was reported last week… 55 dead dolphins and 4 sea lions… [The gov’t will] probe the reasons for the mysterious deaths. In mid-January… 550 dead sea birds and 4 dead sea lions near San Felipe. Another zone of mystery surrounds the Laguna Ojo de Liebre… where 150 dead sea turtles were discovered at the end of January. About two weeks earlier, 14 lifeless gray whales (13 babies and 1 adult) and 16 dead sea turtles were found in the same area… Mexican authorities hypothesized that sea turtles… could be succumbing to hypothermia [and] baby gray whales were dying from lack of nourishment… [They] migrate to Baja California from northern Pacific waters… Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Mar 17

10,000 baby sea lions dead on one California island — Experts: “It’s getting crazy… This is a crisis… Never seen anything like it… Very difficult to see so much death” — TV: “Numbers skyrocketing at alarming rates” — “Woman is burying the rotting mammals” after digging graves at beach (VIDEOS) (ENENews, March 16, 2015):

NBC L.A., Mar 12, 2015 (emphasis added): “The sea lion emergency is back all along the California shore“… [Pups] are washing ashore at a rate so alarming, rescuers said Thursday, this year is the worst yetmore than 1,600 marine mammals [have been picked up].

KTLA, Mar 10, 2015: Stranding numbers for the months of January and February were more than 20 times the average [said NOAA]. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Mar 05


Gov’t: It’s getting “even worse” on West Coast — Experts say over 35,000 baby sea lion could be dead, “this phenomenon 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) (ENENews, March 4, 2015):

NOAA, Feb 18, 2015 (pdf): We are seeing an unusually large increase of California sea lion pups stranding [that’s] intensified over the last few weeks… it is very difficult to pinpoint what is causing the increase… [There are] warmer waters than usual, but an official El Nino has not yet been declared… [We are] preparing for the worst… health trends of marine mammals [inform] us about the health of the entire ecosystem… if the stranding numbers exceed the 2013 UME [facilities will be unable to] accept more animals… animals may be left on the beach [or] humanely euthanized.

Malibu Surfside News, Mar 3, 2015: The number of animals that can be rescued and rehabilitated is very small compared to the total number of pups in distress… in 2013, Federal officials estimated that 70 percent of the total number [~35,000 out of 50,000 newborns] may have died and experts say that the numbers may be even higher this year. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Feb 26


FOX L.A.: “Dead sea lions litter Malibu beaches, families shocked… WARNING: Graphic Images” — Babies being eaten by birds — So many 911 calls about dying animals it’s “bogging down system” — “Scientists say this year is worst in history” — Tells us “major changes are going on out in the ocean” (VIDEO) (ENENews, Feb 24, 2015):

FOX 11 News, Feb 23, 2015 (emphasis added): Dozens of dead Sea Lions litter Malibu beaches; families shocked — A family stumbled upon nearly 10 dead sea lions on a Malibu beach Sunday (WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES IN THIS STORY AND VIDEO) “We just came down the stairs and little sea lions are being washed on to shore dying,” Neda Soderqvist says… “It was devastating to see a bunch of sea lions just lying dead. It wasn’t one or two it was six or eight,” Soderqvist said to FOX 11′s Christine O’Donnell. The sight was especially difficult for her seven-year-old… “They came up and just died right in front of us,” Isabella said… Earlier in the week, Kristin Thames says stumbled across the same devastating scene… “They’re only allowed to take three sea lion pups because there’s not enough space at the rescue centers for more,” Thames said, “it’s really sad.”

Marin Independent Journal, Feb 21, 2015: “First time in our history that we have had sea lion pups here this early” [said] Shawn Johnson, director of veterinary science at the mammal center… sea lions are a sentinel species, a canary in the coal mine. “They can tell us what is happening in the ocean and if it’s unhealthy.” Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Feb 15

See also:

FOX San Diego: Sardines, Crayfish ‘Disappeared From Pacific Ocean … They’ve Just Vanished’

CBS: Officials alarmed as several types of marine mammals begin washing up in California — “Now entire coast is being affected” — “Whole population getting hit hard … a real shock to us” — Animals of all ages sick, not only newborns

TV: “Animals basically dying on our beaches” along West Coast — “New, worse calamity seems to be unfolding” — Experts: “Like walking skeletons”; “So hungry they gnaw on rocks”; “Skin hanging off”; “Extremely unusual… maybe the fish have all left”; “Prepare for the worst”

Gov’t: Sea urchins with insides empty, bare skeletons, and black lesions in Hawaii — Birds dying of unusual cancers, rarely seen in wildlife

“Sea creatures sick, dying or disappearing at alarming rate all along Pacific coast… Some wonder if it’s fallout from Fukushima” — New York Times: “Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction” — Study: “We may be on precipice of major extinction event” in marine wildlife

“Alarming Numbers”: Over 15,000 baby sea lions may have died off California coast — “Marine biologists warn it could deplete an entire generation” — “Heralding the demise of something else beneath the waves”? (VIDEO) (ENENews, Feb 15, 2015):

LA Times, Feb 12, 2015 (emphasis added): [A] record number of sea lions [have] been rescued in recent weeks. “One hundred and two California sea lions in the last 10 days,” a spokeswoman for the [Marine Mammal Center] said… The influx is unprecedented

National Geographic, Feb 12, 2015: Since January 1, nearly 500 of the tiny animals have been [rescued] a number many times higher than normal. Why these animals are struggling to survive is a mystery… California sea lions are considered a sentinel species, meaning they’re seen as indicators of ocean health. Generally, if sea lions are suffering, something is wrong offshore. In this case, scientists still don’t really know what that something is… Starting in January 2013, waves of starving sea lion pups began washing ashore… Scientists noted that the stranding pattern resembled that of severe El Niño years [with] warm ocean waters… The trouble was, these weren’t El Niño years… January 2014, strandings started to swell again… Now, 2015 is looking even worse… more than 470 sea lions have been admitted to California rehab centers… For now, it’s too soon to say… if the sea lion pups are heralding the demise of something else beneath the waves. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Feb 03

TV: “Animals basically dying on our beaches” along West Coast — “New, worse calamity seems to be unfolding” — Experts: “Like walking skeletons”; “So hungry they gnaw on rocks”; “Skin hanging off”; “Extremely unusual… maybe the fish have all left”; “Prepare for the worst” (VIDEOS) (ENENews, Feb 1, 2015):

Fox San Diego, Jan 27, 2015 (emphasis added): SeaWorld rescue teams have taken in more than 50 baby sea lions stranded on San Diego shores… “Their skin is so loose hanging off them, it looks like they’re wearing pajamas” [said SeaWorld’s] Jody Wetberg…

LA Times, Jan 30, 2015: “Their growth is stunted,” said Shawn Johnson… at the Marine Mammal Center… “They’re basically starved to death — no muscle, no fat, just skin and bones.”… January 2015, however, has been “extremely unusual” for the Northern California center, he said. In winter, the sea lion population is concentrated in Southern California, then shifts northward in late summer, Johnson said. So for the center to see so many animals is cause for further concern… “Maybe the fish have all left, and that’s why this is happening.” Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Jan 15

ABC: ‘Mysterious surge’ in sick marine mammals all along California coast — Infested with parasites, extremely emaciated; “Very seriously ill… in very bad shape” — Experts: “We’re extremely concerned right now” — Deaths up 1,500% at rescue facility — ‘Number mystifies officials’ (VIDEOS) (ENENews, Jan 13. 2015)

Orange County Register, Jan 10, 2015 (emphasis added): 8 sea lions rescued in OC in just over a week; number mystifies officials — It’s not normal for eight sea lions to need rescuing in just over a week — especially at this time of year. But that’s exactly what has happened… six were pups and yearlings… [one] only 21 pounds, and [another] 23 pounds… [Experts don’t] know why it’s happening.

ABC 7′s Greg Lee, Jan 12, 2015: Sad, sad photo: Huge increase in rescued #sealions across CA

ABC Los Angeles, Jan 12, 2015: Sea lions in distress — a mysterious surge in sick sea lions… here in S. California and statewide… New at 5, a big increase in the number of stranded sea lions being rescued… Some of them very seriously ill… nearly a dozen sea lions at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. Facilities across California are reporting a massive increase in the number of sea lions needing to be rescued in 2015… Baby sea lions [are] in very bad shape. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Dec 05


More Than 400 Dead Dolphins Found In Northern Peru

500 more dead sea lions; Fukushima radiation continues to spread across ocean (Natural News, Dec 5, 2014):

Another mysterious wave of dead sea animals has washed ashore in Peru, the possible consequence of ongoing radiation releases from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility in Japan. BBC News reports that 500 dead sea lions were recently discovered on Peru’s northern coastline, some 250 miles north of the capital city of Lima, with no obvious explanation as to why this occurred.

The latest of several mass die-offs in recent years, the rotting corpses were found on Anconcillo Beach, located in Peru’s Ancash region. Both young and old sea lions were found at the site, which the local governor blamed on fishermen who may have poisoned them while they searched for food at the shoreline. Others like the environmental group Orca, however, say oil exploration is probably the cause. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Sep 08

Report shows California sea lions dying from organs falling out of place, tumors, accumulation of pus inside bodies (PHOTO) (ENENews, Sep 6, 2014):

Marine mammal deaths reported by The Marine Mammal Center (Sausalito, Calif) since June 2014 (domoic acid-related deaths excluded):

  • (12) Abscess: Collection of pus… in the tissue of the body
  • (1) Carcinoma: Cancer that begins… when altered or damaged DNA occurs to such an extent that the cells become transformed, and begin to exhibit abnormal malignant properties.
  • (1) Cardiomyopathy: “Heart muscle disease”… deterioration… of the… heart muscle… usually leading to heart failure
  • (1) Coccidioidomycosis: Fungal disease… Serious complications may occur in patients with weakened immune systems Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Aug 08

TV: Huge increase in dead and sick sea mammals on California coast — Unprecedented numbers, annual record broken in 7 months — Starving, drooling, brain damaged, suffering seizures — Sea lions ‘mysteriously’ vanishing on other side of Pacific — Experts: We don’t know what’s happening (VIDEO) (ENENews, Aug 3, 2014):

Santa Cruz Sentinel, Aug. 1, 2014: The Marine Mammal Center […] has seen a record-breaking number of patients this year, with 727 admitted through July. In 2013, the center admitted 521 animals. There’s a large number of starving, young sea lions and an algal bloom in Monterey is making adult sea lions sick.

Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 23, 2014: ”We’ve had a record number this year in sea lion admits,” [Marine Mammal Center spokeswoman Laura Sherr] said. The majority of the ailing sea lions have been impacted by a neurological disease caused by large blooms of domoic acid, which is produced by algae. She said the center has also rescued an increasing number of stranded sea lion pups. […] Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Jun 22

S. California fishermen ‘skunked… haven’t seen a squid’, usually 10,000+ lbs/day — ‘Complete crashes’ at oyster hatcheries — Sardines, mackerel missing in areas — Pelican sites alarmingly deserted — Record # of sick sea lions — Ultra-rare whales appear after decades — Mammals, birds, fish in odd places (ENENews, June 17, 2014):

KPBS, June 11, 2014: Unusual Fish Catches Off San Diego Signal Large-Scale El Niño […] “We’ve already started to see very unusual fish catches here,” [Tim Barnett, Scripps Institution of Oceanography said.] “Yellowfin tuna was caught in May — that has never happened before to anybody’s recollection [and] dorado Mahi Mahi — first of June […] has never happened” […]

Pete Thomas Outdoors, June 13, 2014: Unusual catches, whales in odd places, pelican woes could be signs that impending El Niño will be significant […] mammals, birds and fish showing up where they don’t typically belong […] Earlier this week two Bryde’s whales [were] off Huntington Beach […] Sightings off California, however, are extremely rare. […] between 1991 and 2005, there was only one […] Less than a week earlier, a large pod of pilot whales showed off Dana Point […] nearly 20 years since they were last spotted off Southern California. In late March, false killer whales, another ultra-rare visitor [were] off Orange County. […] Sam Anderson, a UC Davis biologist […] would typically encounter tens of thousands of breeding pairs of pelicans, there were only sparse numbers. Some nesting sites were alarmingly deserted. […] Anderson, however, was reluctant to place all of the blame for the pelicans’ plight on the developing El Niño. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

May 07

Over 50 dead seals, sea lions, whales, walrus recently stranded in Alaska — Dozens of seals suffering from baldness, skin sores — Experts: “Marine transported Fukushima radionuclides… may represent a new stressor to ecosystem” (ENENews, May 6, 2014):

Poster for Alaska Marine Science Symposium, Jan. 20, 2014: Based on modeled radionuclide concentrations the dose to Northern Pinnipeds on ice was less than the ERICA risk assessment no-effects level of 10 uGy/hr with the following caveats: 1) Source terms for the Fukushima nuclear accident release vary greatly creating uncertainty in the models. 2) Knowledge gaps exist on extrapolating radiation dose to marine mammals. 3) Exposure to hot particles was not addressed. 4) Cannot rule out that increased radiological exposure in combination with a mixture of other contaminants represented an immunotoxic and thyroid disease risk during the period the animals were living on the ice. 5) Ionizing radiation associated risk for skin defects (i.e. epilation, skin lesions) due to contact and external exposure can also not be excluded. *Marine transported Fukushima radionuclides entering the Bering and Chukchi Seas in the future may represent a new stressor to the ecosystem.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

May 05

Alarm as record numbers of seals & sea lions ‘starving to death’ along California coast — “It’s just spiked… calls started coming nonstop” — “So many unhealthy… washing ashore” — “Extremely complex issue… multitude of factors in play” — “Definitely a mystery, we’re hoping it’s not the new norm” (ENENews, May 4, 2014):

Orange County Register, May 2, 2014: Sea lions are […] washing ashore, many of them pups dehydrated, malnourished and on the brink of death. The year started off quieter than last year, and the Pacific Marine Mammal Center’s director of development, Melissa Sciacca, thought they were in the clear – until about a month ago, when the calls started coming in nonstop. […] “We thought it was going to be a nice calm year; in the last month it’s just spiked,” she said. “The rescues just keep coming in at a steady pace.” It’s the second year stranded sea lions have been reported in alarming numbers. […] Last year, scientists tested for radioactivity, and it was determined that wasn’t the cause, and infectious disease was also ruled out.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Nov 25

Related info:

Fukushima Radiation Plume To Hit U.S. West Coast Any Day Now – Senior Scientist: ‘Really Bizarre’ U.S. Not Testing

NYTimes: Unprecedented concentration of sea creatures near shore in California; Experts baffled, longtime residents astounded — Biologist: “It’s a very strange year… The $64,000 question is why?” — Similar to ‘extraordinary’ events seen recently along Canada’s Pacific coast? (VIDEO) (ENENews, Nov 25 ,2013):

New York Times, November 24, 2013: It began with the anchovies, miles and miles of them […] in the waters of Monterey Bay. Then the sea lions came, by the thousands […] the pelicans […] bottlenose dolphins [in groups of 100 or more have been spotted] […] But it was the whales that astounded even longtime residents — more than 200 humpbacks […] and, on a recent weekend, a pod of 19 rowdy orcas […] the water in every direction roiled with mammals […] For almost three months, Monterey and nearby coastal areas have played host to a mammoth convocation of sea life that scientists here say is unprecedented in their memories […] never that anyone remembers have there been this many or have they stayed so long […] Last month, so many anchovies crowded into Santa Cruz harbor that the oxygen ran out, leading to a major die-off. Marine researchers are baffled about the reason for the anchovy explosion. […]

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Apr 02

Fukushima, anyone?

Starving, Dying Sea Lions Washing Up On Southland Beaches (CBS News):

Starving sea lion pups fill Calif. rescue centers (AP, March 29, 2013):

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hundreds of starving sea lion pups are washing up on beaches from San Diego to Santa Barbara, overwhelming rescue centers and leaving scientists scrambling to figure out why.

At island rookeries off the Southern California coast, 45 percent of the pups born in June have died, said Sharon Melin, a wildlife biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service based in Seattle. Normally, less than one-third of the pups would die.

It’s gotten so bad in the past two weeks that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared an “unusual mortality event.” That will allow more scientists to join the search for the cause, Melin said.

Pups are normally weaned from their mothers in April.

Even the pups that are making it are markedly underweight, Melin said.

The most recent pups weighed at the breeding area on San Miguel Island were around 37 pounds, Melin said. They should weigh between 55 and 59 pounds by now, she said.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,