Sick sea lions in L.A. have nowhere to go

May 10, 2007

The Los Angeles Harbor is reportedly undergoing its worst toxic algae outbreak in history, rapidly overfilling animal rehabilitation centers.

The centers are so full, some sea lions affected by the algae are temporarily left on Los Angeles County beaches, The Los Angels Times reported Thursday.

"We just don't have the space to accommodate them all," said Lauren Palmer, staff veterinarian at the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro. "We could have four or five centers and they would all be full like this one."

A decision has been made to leave the sickened sea lions on the beach for 48 hours, after which if they have not died or left, they will be taken to a center.

The police, lifeguards and wildlife rescue workers are trying to keep the public away from the sea lions that beached themselves after suffering epileptic seizures and brain damage.

"LAPD called me last night when a dozen people were trying to feed a sea lion on Dockweiler Beach that was nipping and biting at them," said Peter Wallerstein, who rescues sea lions and other marine mammals for the Whale Rescue Team.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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