California Sea Lion Crisis Lingers; Falling Births Reported
(Click to enlarge) Sea lion pups are just the tip of a larger shift in the Pacific and the rest of the world’s oceans if human emissions continue to warm the planet. (Credit: Bill Bumgarner/Flickr)
A warming ocean is taking its toll on California’s popular and playful sea lions for a fourth straight year, with scientists now reporting lower birth rates depleting the population, and masses of young animals still washing up starving and stranded on beaches.
(From Business Insider /by Steve Gorman)– More than 2,000 emaciated California sea lions, mostly pups and juveniles, have been found beached dead and dying along the state’s southern and central coasts since January, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
That is over twice the average number of strandings considered normal, although it is about half as many as the record 4,000 documented strandings that alarmed the public during the first six months of last year.
NOAA biologists believe declining births may account for the year-to-year reduction in mass strandings. Both trends are attributed to warming ocean temperatures along the Pacific Coast that have disrupted the marine mammals’ food supply of sardines, anchovy and squid.
The phenomenon has no doubt put a dent in sea lion numbers, estimated at about 300,000 animals before beachings began to spike in 2013. The overall toll taken on the population has yet to be calculated.
Read the full article here: http://www.businessinsider.com/r-california-sea-lion-crisis-lingers-falling-births-reported-2016-7