The Phaserl


AP: “Alarming signs of oceanic distress” on West Coast — Record number of stranded seal pups, nearly 2,000% of normal levels — “Bags of skin and bones”

from ENE News:

Press Democrat, Nov 20, 2015 (emphasis added): Sausalito’s Marine Mammal Center sees record number of stranded seal pups — Another species of marine wildlife has begun turning up, emaciated and weak, in record numbers on the California coast in what continue to bealarming signs of oceanic distress. Unhealthy northern fur seal pups have been found stranded on beaches in record numbers, newly weaned and weighing little more than typical birth weight for the species, marine mammal experts said. “They’re adorable, but on the other hand they’re these little bags of skin and bones,” said Jeff Boehm, executive director of the Marine Mammal Center… [The center has] taken in 85 northern fur seals… more than double the previous record of 31 pups in 2006… The northern fur seal strandings are the latest in a string of alarming marine events. Experts have been working all year to address an “unusual mortality event” among California sea lions. In addition, wildlife rescue crews have been trying to rehabilitate a record number of the rarely seen and endangered Guadalupe fur seal pups.

AP, Nov 21 2015: Record number of stranded seal pups in Northern California… experts say another species of marine wildlife has begun turning up, emaciated and weak, in record numbers on the California coast in what has been a series of alarming signs of oceanic distress.

Marine Mammal Center, Nov 19, 2015: Unusual Ocean Conditions Continue to Cause Record Strandings… Like the California sea lions and Guadalupe fur seals before them, these young, starving pups are stranding in record numbers. 2015 has been a year like no other for The Marine Mammal Center—with six weeks still remaining, we’ve already rescued more seals and sea lions than ever before in our 40-year history… All told, we have rescued more than 1,747 seals and sea lions so far this year… raising alarming questions about the health of our ocean… The fur seal pups we’ve been rescuing for the past month are about half the size they should be at this age. Our veterinary experts describe them as “emaciated,” which essentially means they are skin and bones, and in the poorest state of nutrition… While experts are able to explain how this is happening—unusually warm waters are affecting food availability for mothers and pups—they still can’t explain exactly why… What we do know is that the record numbers of stranded marine mammals we’ve seen all year indicate there is anurgent need for more science to help us all better understand what’s going on off the coast of California and how large-scale human impacts, such as overfishing and pollution, may be affecting the health of these animals and their ocean environment as well…

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