From ENE News
May 2, 2017
KKFX FOX 11 transcript, Apr 22, 2017: A local rescue group is getting flooded with calls about sick or dead sea lions showing up on Santa Barbara beaches… Sick and confused, dozens of sea lions are appearing on Santa Barbara beaches with signs of brain damage. Samuel Dover, Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute: “Normally we see injured animals about 1 or 2 here or there… Last Friday we got over 100 calls per day about sea lions in distress.”
KSBY, Apr 26, 2017: Marine mammals statewide becoming infected with brain-rotting toxin — A high number of marine mammals in California are falling victim to a brain-rotting toxin… In Santa Barbara County, rescue centers are reporting hundreds of cases. With this outbreak potentially spreading, the Marine Mammal Center in Morro Bay is stocking up on medicine… scientists will be keeping a close eye on what’s happening with these mammals to monitor how else it will affect the marine food chain.
Ventura County Star, Apr 20, 2017: “Friday, we started getting inundated. The floodgates opened,” said [Dover]… Authorities say unusually high numbers of stranded or dead marine mammals and birds have shown up in spots throughout the Southern California coast in recent weeks. Federal and state agencies are working to document the scope of affected wildlife and mortalities… tests are underway to determine the cause of illness and death… they become sick, suffer from seizures and brain damage… The CIMWI hotline started getting about 100 calls on Friday and pretty much every day since, Dover said… [D]olphins have been impacted… Domoic acid poisoning is something he sees year after year, but not to the degree that’s happening right now. “This is the worst year we have ever seen,” Dover said. Beachgoers also have reported large numbers of dead and dying birds… Dover asked that those calling also understand that the agencies have been inundated.
Ventura County Reporter, Apr 26, 2017: Since the beginning of April, beachgoers have reported numerous sightings of discombobulated sea lions and sickly birds… “It has been pretty intense,” said [California State University, Channel Islands, Assistant Professor of Biology Allison Alvarado,] “It was like thousands of birds were being found”… Though domoic acid poisoning is suspected, the exact cause is not as yet determined… [R]eports of unusual numbers of dead or sick animals along the coast stretch from as far north as Goleta and as far south as Malibu…
Santa Barbara Independent, Apr 25, 2017: Since the beginning of April, Julia Parker has seen 216 sick pelagic birds come into the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network. There were only four in February, and three in March… Many more have been found dead on nearby beaches. Pelagic birds live their lives on the ocean. “They only beach themselves if there’s something wrong: if… they’re emaciated and starving,” explained Parker, the network’s Director of Animal Affairs. A large number of the birds found in April displayed neurological symptoms… It’s not just birds… on April 21, “we started getting inundated with calls — 100 calls per day” reporting sea lions stranded on the beaches, said Sam Dover, a veterinarian who runs [Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute]… In the last two weeks, they’ve also seen six beached dolphins, all dead or dying… It’s likely that animal populations further north could be affected in the coming weeks…
AOL, Apr 23, 2017: Most years, conservationists might see one death from the illness.
CBS LA transcript, Apr 11, 2017: [Pacific Marine Mammal Center] only had 1 or 2 cases last year.