Scientists Shocked as 1,300 Sea Lions Found Stranded
The event was declared as an unusual mortality event by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) after a large number of sea lions were founded stranded off the sea shore from San Diego County to Santa Barbara County this year.
It emerged that since the beginning of the year, 1,293 sea lions were found stranded on the sea shores. Sarah Wilkin, the NOAA's marine mammal stranding Coordinator for California, said that the number is extremely high in comparison to the previous average of 236 in the same period from 2008 to 2012.
It was learnt that the problem of stranding was very high in Los Angeles County, where about 459 strandings were reported as of April 14 this year. The number last year during the same period was found to be only 60.
Such a large number strandings haven't been observed in California since 1998, when El Niño warmed up Pacific waters. "In the words of some of the other biologists, if this was an El Niño year, it would still be overwhelming but it wouldn't be all that surprising", said Wilkin.
Sea lion pups are being admitted to the rehab facilities for treatment. It is thought that the event has occurred because of lack of food; however, the same has not yet been verified.
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