Unusual number of malnourished sea lions turning up on Bay Area beaches

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Scientists are investigating why so many sick and dying sea lions are turning up on Bay Area beaches.

Two sick sea lions were rescued Wednesday at Ocean Beach.

“I was walking over that way and then I saw it and there’s dead birds here too,” said beach visitor Abby Williams. “It’s really sad, it’s really sad to have the kids around it.”

Another sea lion was rescued from Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica.

Right now, there are 130 sea lions at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito.

“Most of those just coming in skinny, some of them have sound wounds and things like that as well. Overall, they’re a little more quiet so a little more lethargic than what they normally be too,” said Dr. Greg Frankfurt, a veterinarian with the Marine Mammal Center. 

Frankfurt says the adult sea lions may be suffering from domoic acid poisoning, found in algae blooms, making the animals sick.

“They had seizures, often just have other neurological changes,” he said.

In April, May and June of last year, the Marine Mammal Center rescued more than 200 young california sea lions that were malnourished.

A higher than average number says Frankfurt. 

His group is now in search of answers.

“We’re seeing a lot of different animals being impacted from the gray whales that are coming in thin to the issues that we are seeing with Guadalupe animals and the sea lions up and down the coast,” Frankfurt said. “It’s definitely a sign of the ocean over all. All of it might change to climate change, relating to warming oceans.”

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