Sick sea lions reported on Southern California beaches

August 23, 2022 GMT

VENTURA, Calif. (AP) — Dozens of sick sea lions have been spotted on a stretch of the Southern California coast this month.

The Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute said that since Aug. 15 there have been numerous reports from beachgoers about sea lions that appear to have domoic acid poisoning, a naturally occurring toxin in algae, the Ventura County Star reported Monday.

Elevated levels of domoic acid can harm marine mammals and seabirds.

The institute rescues marine mammals in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

Managing director Ruth Dover said sea lions can become disoriented and agitated, with symptoms such as head bobbing, foaming at the mouth, seizures and a loss of motor skills.

Dover said that taking a sick sea lion to the center can cause stress that worsens their condition, so in some cases in which symptoms appear mild they will leave the animal where it is, post signs and monitor it.