Sporadic Events

Young sea lions headed for mass mortality event?

IMG_3172Stranded, starving and sickly sea lion pups are showing up by the hundreds on California beaches.

The situation is reaching crisis proportions, and keeping a valiant team of experts busy as the California Stranding Network answers the call to rehabilitate rescued pups. Justin Viezbicke, NOAA Fisheries California Stranding Network coordinator, gives some insight into what is happening to California sea lions, what the stranding network is doing, and how you can help in this Thank You Ocean interview.

Every summer, sea lion pups are born in the Channel Islands off the southern coast of California, where under normal circumstances they’re reared for nearly a year by their mother. Scientists suggest that unusually warm waters are contributing to a food shortage, and so the mothers must range farther and farther to feed themselves and the pup. In some cases, the pups set out on their own prematurely, but they’re too inexperienced and weak to reach suitable foraging grounds, and eventually wind up on the mainland sick and starving.

Everyday Action: Report sightings of stranded animals to 1-866-767-6114. Support and donate to the members of the California Stranding Network.

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