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This underfed sea lion pup is inside an Animal Control truck after being picked up on the sand. It was taken to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center for treatment and feeding until it is big enough and old enough to survive on its own.
JULISSA RIVERA, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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Researchers puzzled over spike in sick sea lions

Sick sea lions are turning up in record numbers along Southern California’s coastline. Director David Bard and Lauren Palmer of the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro say scientists are looking at a number of theories.

By John Boxley, Producer, NBC News

SAN PEDRO, Calif. — Along Southern California’s pristine coastline, ailing sea lions are turning up in record numbers.

“We have a lot of little pups this year,” said veterinarian Lauren Palmer, who is nursing them back to health. Most are about eight months old, she said, and appear dehydrated and malnourished, having trouble adjusting to life away from mom. For some reason many pups are leaving their mothers early. It’s not clear why.

Usually, around this time of year, there might be a dozen sick sea lions in San Pedro, said David Bard, operations director for the San Pedro Marine Mammal Care Center. But so far, the care center has taken in nearly 200 and counting. Last week alone, there were 50 new cases.

“It’s a pretty big spike,” he said.

The last big spike was in 2009 when the care center took more than 500 sick animals, but most of those were elephant seals. Researchers say that was due to El Nino conditions.

Looking for answers
During a tour of the facility, Bard pointed to a group of new arrivals.

“You can see the activity level of these fellows is a little low, they don’t have as much energy,” he said. There were about 20 pups inside a small pen area, each looked quite lethargic.

So, what’s happening to the sea lions this year? So far nobody knows. There are plenty of theories, however, such as food shortages, climate change or simply an increase in the number of sea lion births.

“We are not seeing a disease outbreak among these animals or any obvious underlying cause,” Bard said.

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Starving Sea Lion Pups Stump Scientists

SeaWorld San Diego staffers rescued 11 sea lion pups in just 3 days

By Greg Bledsoe and R. Stickney
|  Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013  |  Updated 11:20 AM PDT
The number of pups needing emergency care is so great that one rescue organization has declared a state of emergency. NBC 7's Greg Bledsoe reports.

The number of pups needing emergency care is so great that one rescue organization has declared a state of emergency. NBC 7′s Greg Bledsoe reports.

An increasing number of California sea lion pups have been stranding along the coast of in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.

The number of pups needing emergency care is so great that one rescue organization has declared a state of emergency.

“We don’t know what the problem is now,” said Susan Chivers, a biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service.

“What we’re seeing is a lot of skinny pups which suggests they’re not getting sufficient nourishment, and dying of starvation basically.”

NBC 7 San Diego first reported on the unusual number of sea lion pups wandering ashore along San Diego’s coastline Monday.

SeaWorld San Diego staffers rescued 11 sea lion pups in just 3 days from locations like Mission Beach and .

The phenomenon has been happening for two weeks along beaches in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

On Monday, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach declared its own state of emergency after it performed 12 rescues Saturday – a single-day record for the organization.

 Read Full Article Here

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Recovering sea lions get fed fish at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach after 18 rescues in two days. These sea lions will soon be released into the wild after their rehabilitation is complete.

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Photos: Mystery ailment afflicts sea lion pups Orange County

Mary Plummer | March 12th, 2013, 5:28pm

Mary Plummer

These malnourished and dehydrated pups are recovering in the “intensive care unit” of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach.

Southern California is seeing an increase in the stranded sea lion pups — and scientists aren’t sure exactly what’s causing it.

“The overall numbers we’re seeing this year are just very, very elevated,” said Sarah Wilkin, who studies sea lion populations for the National Marine Fishery Service for California. “For these facilities to be so overwhelmed at this time of year is very strange.”

This is typically the slow season for stranded sea lions, according to Wilkin. Not this year.

On Saturday alone, the nonprofit Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach took in 12 sea lions, breaking its one-day take in record. It took in another nine in the next few days.

“I get in here at 5:45 a.m. and the first thing I do is take care of our most critical patients,” said Kirsten Sedlick, the animal care supervisor at the center. Sedlick said the center has squeezed in 10 times the normal number of rescues. It has been so swamped the center declared a state of emergency.

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center is at 10 times its normal capacity due to an increase in stranded sea lion pups. A caretaker said it’s likely only 80 percent of the animals will survive.

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Malnourished sea lions pups line the floors of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.
EUGENE GARCIA, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Researchers puzzled over spike in sick sea lions

Sick sea lions are turning up in record numbers along Southern California’s coastline. Director David Bard and Lauren Palmer of the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro say scientists are looking at a number of theories.

By John Boxley, Producer, NBC News

SAN PEDRO, Calif. — Along Southern California’s pristine coastline, ailing sea lions are turning up in record numbers.

“We have a lot of little pups this year,” said veterinarian Lauren Palmer, who is nursing them back to health. Most are about eight months old, she said, and appear dehydrated and malnourished, having trouble adjusting to life away from mom. For some reason many pups are leaving their mothers early. It’s not clear why.

Usually, around this time of year, there might be a dozen sick sea lions in San Pedro, said David Bard, operations director for the San Pedro Marine Mammal Care Center. But so far, the care center has taken in nearly 200 and counting. Last week alone, there were 50 new cases.

“It’s a pretty big spike,” he said.

The last big spike was in 2009 when the care center took more than 500 sick animals, but most of those were elephant seals. Researchers say that was due to El Nino conditions.

Looking for answers
During a tour of the facility, Bard pointed to a group of new arrivals.

“You can see the activity level of these fellows is a little low, they don’t have as much energy,” he said. There were about 20 pups inside a small pen area, each looked quite lethargic.

So, what’s happening to the sea lions this year? So far nobody knows. There are plenty of theories, however, such as food shortages, climate change or simply an increase in the number of sea lion births.

“We are not seeing a disease outbreak among these animals or any obvious underlying cause,” Bard said.

Read Full Article  and Watch Video Here

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Center: Surge of sea lions leads to state of emergency

March 11, 2013|By Bryce Alderton
(Allen J. Schaben…)

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center declared a state of emergency Monday due to the influx of malnourished and dehydrated sea lion pups coming ashore on Orange County beaches.

The facility on Laguna Canyon Road — the only marine mammal care center for Orange County — admitted 18 sea lions Saturday and Sunday. Twelve came in on Saturday, the largest single-day total in the center’s 42-year history, according to a press release.

As of Sunday, the center had 86 animals in its care, 84 of them sea lions.

“The last time the center received this many sea lions this early in the season was 1998,” said Melissa Sciacca, PMMC’s director of development.

Most of the malnourished or dehydrated animals are 8 to 9 months old, Sciacca said.

Los Angeles County is also seeing an increase in admitted sea lion pups.

Officials at PMMC and Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro could not speculate what may be responsible for the recent sea lion surge.

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Stranded sea lions overwhelm nonprofit resources

Marine Mammal Center facing emergency after 18 pups rescued.

Article Tab: sea-current-past-malnouri

A malnourished sea lion pup huddles with others at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach after 18 rescues in two days. The patient count was up to 84 sea lions.
EUGENE GARCIA, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

By CLAUDIA KOERNER / ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

After a record-breaking number of sea lion pup rescues, leaders of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center said their organization is facing a state of emergency.

The nonprofit group rescued 12 severely malnourished and dehydrated sea lions from Orange County beaches Saturday, the most rescues in a single day the organization has ever seen. Teams rescued six more Sunday, bringing the total of marine mammal patients in the group’s converted barn facility in Laguna Canyon to 86 – 84 of them sea lions.

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How to help

To cover the costs of care, the center is asking for donations. Donors may visit pacificmmc.org or call 949-494-3050 to give.

If you see a stranded marine mammal

•Maintain a distance of 50 yards from it. Do not approach it to encourage it back to the ocean, feed it or pour water on it.

•Call the Pacific Marine Mammal Center at 949-494-3050 to report the animal and its location.

•Keep other beachgoers, including dogs, away from the animal.

Source: Pacific Marine Mammal Center

Typically, the center doesn’t encounter animals in need of medical attention until April or May. This year, higher numbers of starving sea lions began coming to shore in January, said center spokeswoman Melissa Sciacca, and the numbers are reaching epidemic proportions.

“It’s certainly alarming,” she said. “We’re just doing everything we can to give each and every pup that strands a chance.”

Each of the weekend’s rescues was an 8- or 9-month-old sea lion pup. A variety of reasons could lead the malnourished pups to come ashore, Sciacca said, such as the pup becoming separated from its mother or a stop in the mother’s milk supply.

If the pace of stranded sea lions remains at roughly nine times more than normal, Sciacca said, the facility will not have the resources to keep up.

Read Full Article and Watch Video Here

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