Bizarre Number Of Dead Sea Lion Pups Spotted On California Coastal Islands

by | May 25, 2024 | Daily News, Environmental News

Home » Environmental News » Bizarre Number Of Dead Sea Lion Pups Spotted On California Coastal Islands

Researchers have discovered a disturbing number of dead sea lion pups off the coast of California. The University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) is investigating the cause. In recent weeks, over 250 dead sea lion pups have been spotted on Ano Nuevo Island. This incident of dead sea lion pups spotted on California coastal islands has been termed an unusual mortality event.

dead sea lion pups spotted on California coastal islands

UCSC graduate student George Colaco described the scene: “It almost looks like it’s raining sea lion pups. They get picked apart by gulls and scavengers, so it looks like a battlefield. It’s a bit grim.” These pups are believed to be aborted early, most of them nearly reaching full term as the pupping season starts in June. In typical years, Ano Nuevo Island sees about 700 pups born, with only 1 or 2 aborted. Finding nearly 300 dead pups is highly unusual.

Dr. Daniel Costa, Director of the Institute of Marine Science at UCSC, and his students have collected the carcasses for testing. They are working to determine the cause of this event. “The ocean is changing in ways we don’t completely understand,” said Dr. Costa. He suspects that the recent El Niño event might be a factor. “My best guess is that we’re coming from an El Niño event. That means less food and fewer fish in general. With the California sea lion population at an extreme high, they might have maxed out their food supply.

To understand sea lion behavior better, Costa and his team are using satellite tracking. They have observed some sea lions traveling as far as Baja California. “We’ve tracked sea lions for a total of about six years. We’ve never seen this kind of movement before, so I think they are looking for food,” Costa explained.

Besides the effects of climate change, UCSC researchers are also considering other causes, such as avian flu or pesticides. “Right now, it’s about doing more research and keeping a close watch on behaviors. We’re observing how things are changing because this situation is developing rapidly,” said Colaco.

This phenomenon is believed to be widespread, with similar occurrences seen across the West Coast. “I think nature has to heal itself in this case,” stated Costa. While many sea lions have been found dead, scientists emphasize that the situation is not yet extremely devastating. However, if this trend continues for the next few years, it could become a serious problem.

The UCSC team is committed to understanding and addressing this issue of dead sea lion pups spotted on California coastal islands. Their research aims to uncover the underlying causes and find ways to protect the sea lion population. The team’s ongoing efforts highlight the importance of monitoring and preserving marine life amid changing ocean conditions.

Also Read: Tornado In Haiti Leaves 300 Families On Streets


  • Sarah Tancredi

    Sarah Tancredi is an experienced journalist and news reporter specializing in environmental and climate crisis issues. With a deep passion for the planet and a commitment to raising awareness about pressing environmental challenges, Sarah has dedicated her career to informing the public and promoting sustainable solutions. She strives to inspire individuals, communities, and policymakers to take action to safeguard our planet for future generations.

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