Sea Lions released in Marin County over disease 12/7/2011
KTVU.com and Wires
MARIN COUNTY, Calif. —
Three California sea lions were released back to the ocean Tuesday by the Marine Mammal Center after successful treatments of malnourishment and leptospirosis, a potentially fatal bacterial infection.
The three juvenile male sea lions, named Cranberry Sauce, Leopica and Teapupoo, were released at Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands at 11 a.m., Marine Mammal Center spokesman Jim Oswald said.
A total of 187 sea lions were diagnosed with leptospirosis by the center this year and only 36 percent of those sea lions were successfully rehabilitated, Oswald said.
Leptospirosis, as well as toxic algal bloom, malnourishment and entanglements in ocean trash are among the primary health issues for the 530 marine mammals rescued by the Marine Mammal Center this year, Oswald said.
The scientific community has identified major triggers for the spread of toxic algal blooms and its impact on marine life.
"We just took in sea lions with domoic acid poisoning caused by naturally occurring toxic algal blooms," Oswald explained. "Sea lions over time ingest the fish that eat the toxic algal blooms and become disoriented as a result of the domoic acid."
The sea lions' navigation and reasoning skills are affected, which may explain why wayward sea lions are frequently found in dangerous areas such as on highways, Oswald said.
"Warming ocean temperatures can cause more blooms to happen, agricultural run off can exaggerate it, as well as ballast water from cargo ships," Oswald said.
The Marine Mammal Center has rescued over 17,000 marine mammals along 600 miles of Central and Northern California coastland and inland areas since 1975.
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