Sea lion update, June 11, 2013

There was a recent update about the standing of the sea lions in San Diego:

Wildlife rehabilitation centers have rescued more than 1,550 sea lion pups along Calfornia’s coast during this record year of strandings.

At SeaWorld, stranded sea lions receive hydration and nutritional treatment, along with medical care, before being released back to the wild after a few weeks or months. About 10 percent to 15 percent of the pups treated at the park’s rehab center this year have become stranded again and required a second rescue, Koontz said.

“Some of them just need a little bit more help,” he said.

Scientists believe that population changes among squid and small fish — primary sources of food for sea lions — may have triggered the strandings as newly weaned pups struggled to find scarce prey. They’re analyzing data about food supplies and certain diseases in their quest to pinpoint the leading cause of this year’s unusual toll.

     This number of strandings far exceeds the data that was previously reported.  The reporting of second rescues is also ominous.  It suggests that the food shortage is ongoing.   Flotsam from the disaster in Fukushima appeared last winter along the West Coast.  There has been one report of increased radioactivity found in sea lions on the West Coast.  One hypothesis is that, because of its similarity to potassium, Cesium 137, from Fukushima, is concentrated into biological tissues in the food train, and that the most vulnerable are the small animals that live near the surface of the ocean.

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One thought on “Sea lion update, June 11, 2013

  1. Pingback: Sea lion update, July 13, 2013 | Vernon Radiation Safety

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