Wildlife center rescues sea lion

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The animal might have been suffering from domoic acid poisoning.

By Julie Ellerton

The California Wildlife Center was contacted when an ill sea lion was discovered Monday on a Malibu beach.

Gabor Ujvari and Truce Mitchell noticed the sea lion struggling to get out of the rocks and waves. The two men devised a sling with a T-shirt to help the sea lion out of the water. The men moved the sea lion when a wave got too close, for fear that it might drown before help arrived.

Leslie Lentz, a volunteer from the Marine Mammal Rescue Team, which operates under the CWC, arrived at the scene and informed the group that had gathered that the sea lion would be rescued in the morning.

Lentz explained that it is unsafe to touch the sea lion that was most likely suffering from domoic acid poisoning. This disease causes epileptic seizures as well as abnormal behavior.

Algal blooms produce Domoic acid. Many fish that sea lions feed on consume the algae.

California Wildlife Center is urging the public to keep at least 50 feet away from any mammal that has come to shore. Sea lions will bite, especially when they are disoriented and sick. Once the phone call has been made to the Wildlife Center, there isn’t much more that can be done. Too much activity and movement will cause the sea lion distress.

More about the California Wildlife Center can be obtained online at www.californiawildlifecenter.org