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Published: November 24th, 2015 at 2:03 am ET
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 an urgent 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…
Marine Mammal Center: In normal years, the Marine Mammal Center admits about five northern fur seals… In November of 2006, 33 fur seals were admitted to the Marine Mammal Center… Most scientists don’t believe that the fur seal strandings were due to El Niño since other species weren’t showing similar El Niño effects… there is no clear understanding of why the fur seals were unable to find food that year.