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Big Uptick In Sea Lions Stranded On Central And South Coast Beaches

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Courtesy Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Insitute
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There's been a surge in the number of sea lions lon the Central and South Coasts stranded on beaches after ingesting toxins, according to officials with the Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Insitute.

Agency officials say  there have been increased reports of sea lions sick from the effects of domoic acid toxicosis, or DA, a naturally-occurring marine biotoxin produced by algae that passes up the food chain into the mammals when seasonally produced in large quantities.

“Typically you might see one or two a week or, worst case scenario, one or two a day. But we’re seeing anywhere from three to five to ten a day depending on the region," says Sam Dover, Executive Director and Chief Veterinarian with the Institute.

Dover says the sea lions affected by DA tend to be delirious, comatose, and have seizures.   He says members of the public should not get close to ill animals, but should call authorities.

Dover says when they are in a comotose state there is a problem with people petting them, because if the animal snaps out of it they can be dangerous.

The Institute rescued 62 starving or stranded sea lion pups last month.