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Spring algae bloom forces sick sea lions to shore

A sick sea lion.

Seven ailing sea lions rescued from Santa Monica Bay appeared sicker from seasonal algae-related poisoning than in past years, rescuers said Monday.

The mammals are washing up suffering grand mal seizures, paralysis and foaming from the mouth, said Peter Wallerstein, who supervised the rescues.

Wallerstein said they are suffering from domoic acid poisoning, a neurotoxin produced in large algae blooms off the coast.

"This seems to be a very potent bloom,'' he said.

Domoic acid is a naturally occurring biotoxin found in algae blooms off California's coast and is caused in part from pollutants, such as fertilizers and industrial waste, that wash out to sea. Ocean temperatures and changing currents also are believed to play a role, Wallerstein said.

Marine Animal Rescue has removed 34 sea lions in the last 10 days from beaches in Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties, he said.

Sickened dolphins and pelicans also are being found, he said. The group has been able to rehabilitate about half of the stricken animals, Wallerstein said.

The public should stay away from any mammals that wash ashore because they are disoriented and may bite, Wallerstein said.

The public should notify a lifeguard or call (800) 39-WHALE to report a sick animal, he said.

"A lot of people want to put their children near these animals for a photo opportunity,'' Wallerstein said. "but they should just stay away" from them.

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-- Catherine Saillant

Photo: A sick sea lion. Credit: Peter Wallerstein / whalerescueteam.org

 
Comments () | Archives (12)

How is something partially caused by pollutants, such as fertilizer and industrial waste, "naturally occuring?"

Waiting for all the nuts to show up.

"Domoic acid is a naturally occurring biotoxin found in algae blooms off California's coast and is caused in part from pollutants, such as fertilizers and industrial waste, that wash out to sea."

"A lot of people want to put their children near these animals for a photo opportunity."

Two excellent examples of why it will be a very good thing for Planet Earth when human beings become extinct.

Since the Marine Mammal Protection Act was signed into law, the California Sea Lion population has grown from 30,000 to over 300,000. There is absolutely no reason the beached sea lions should be "rescued and rehabilitated". These animals are over populated and the sick ones should simply be allowed to die. The DFG should stop issuing sea lion rescue permits. Heck there is currently a bill in the U.S. Congress which would allow for the killing of nuisance California sea lions preying on endangered salmon runs on the Columbia River, so why should we be rehabilitating them down here?

We all need to be reminded that our waste (fertilizers, pet, industrial etc.) winds up directly in the water. We MUST be more conscious of how we handle ourselves because of our proximity to the ocean.
http://www.lastormwater.org/ is doing a great job of getting the word out but they can't reach 10million people on their own.

the organisms that produce the domoic acid are found in the waters off the coast of S. CA and sometimes the will produce domoic acid (that's the natural part). What stimulates them to produce the toxin is unknown, although it appears that water temperature, and pollutants in the water can stimulate the bloom & production of domoic acid.

Omqq.... Thiss Is Badd!!

Youu Know People Shoudl Try to Save These Poor Sea Lions Instead of Beeinqq Stupid And Takinqq Pictures Of Them Likee If They Would Be Some Kind of Trophy Or Somethinqq I Meann Are Youu Serious Help The Sea Lions Do Not Hurt Themm!! Help Save Them From Sprinqq Alqae Blooms Okayy!!!?????

By: чєccα rσdríquєzz!

@чєccα
Don't post. Ever

La river is a big contributor to this problem we should damn that nasty thing up and use it for gray water recycling.

@ 1 of 4,

Animal populations, with the exception of humans, are controlled by natural boundaries. If there are 300,000 of them, it's because nature has supported that population. Eventually, they may hit a cap or the population will naturally crash.

They are rehabilitated because it was most likely a human variable that caused the algae bloom and the subsequent domoic acid.

The human population has exploded so why should we research and cure terrible life threatening diseases. Heck how many humans have killed other humans, animals etc in the last minute? Perhaps we should look at our Earth as being part of the big picture rather than the big picture. How wrong your comment is to humanity. Shame on you!!!!!
The Sealions and all animals for that matter don't have the ability to choose what they eat or where they live so how can you even think the way you do?


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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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