California – A higher-than-usual number of sickly seals, sea lions, and dolphins are being found along beaches in Southern California. According to the Marine Mammal Care Center, the animals are being sickened by toxic algae.
Within the last week, the organization issued an alert about the situation, writing:
Toxic algae bloom causing the death and stranding of marine mammals. Please share! Domoic acid (DA) is a neurotoxin that accumulates in fish and is then transferred to marine animals. Adult seals and sea lions with DA can present in unpredictable ways, like increased aggressiveness, seizures, or lethargy.
Dave Bader, marine biologist and chief operations and education officer at the Marine Mammal Care Center, tells ABC 7 News:
“Our seals and sea lions and dolphins eat fish that have eaten this algae and those toxins build up in their bodies and causes them to have what we call domoic acid toxicosis. It causes symptoms like seizures, it can cause extreme lethargy, it can cause aggressiveness, and it can also cause death.”
The agency said, please keep your distance from animals you see on the beach and immediately call us at 1-800-39-WHALE if you suspect an animal is in distress.