Apr 29, 6:09 AM EDT
More Marine Animals Sickened by
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Rescuers worked Saturday to
save more dead and dying dolphins and sea lions that have washed up
on Southern California beaches, believed poisoned by a naturally
occurring toxic acid.
A bloom of ocean algae that produces domoic acid
may be responsible for killing or sickening dozens of the sea
mammals, including birds, in recent weeks, environmentalists
On Friday state health officials warned
consumers against eating certain locally harvested shellfish and
seafood because they may be contaminated with the acid.
At least four sea lions were found Saturday on
shores in Marina del Rey, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and Venice,
said Peter Wallerstein of the Whale Rescue Team.
"We've done at least 35 rescues in the past
couple weeks," Wallerstein said. "The local marine care center is at
full capacity and they are putting restrictions on how many animals
we can bring in."
Another six dolphins have been picked off the
beach in the past six days, he said, and about 110 animals have been
rescued this year, he added. All were either dead, comatose or
suffering from seizures.
Officials said consumers should avoid
sport-harvested shellfish, sardines, anchovies, lobsters and crabs
caught off the coast between Santa Barbara and Orange County. Dogs,
cats and other pets also should not be fed the products, the state
Department of Health Services said.
In the past week, 40 birds have been taken to
the International Bird Rescue Center in San Pedro with symptoms of
domoic acid poisoning, which attacks the brain and can cause
In previous seasons, the center might see seven
birds a week, director Jay Holcomb said.
The algae population goes through an annual
increase as ocean waters warm, but biologists say this year's bloom
is especially early and extensive.
A similar outbreak in 2002 and 2003 sickened or
killed more than a thousand sea lions and 50 dolphins.
Original article: AP
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