Starving Sea Lion Pups Continue To Wash Up Along The California Coast, Leaving Scientists Baffled

A month ago, the Inquisitr reported about a mysterious phenomenon being witnessed along the Californian coast. Since the beginning of 2015, there have been several reports of starving sea lion pups washing onto the shores.

By mid-February, over 250 starving sea lion pups were netted and were subsequently transferred to various shelters by authorities. Most of the starving sea lion pups were cared for and eventually released back into the ocean after they were treated. Some others weren’t as lucky and had to be euthanized by authorities owing to their poor health. While the phenomenon was alarming, scientists and marine biologists initially thought this might just be a temporary problem that had also been witnessed in 2013.

However, a month on, the strange phenomenon continues unabated, reports ABC News. Baffled scientists still do not have a definite answer as to what is causing these baby sea lion pups to starve and eventually make them come to the shores. The number of starving sea lion pups washing up on the shores have now increased to an unprecedented 1,450 so far, reports the Washington Post. In fact, the situation has become so alarming that authorities from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have said that calls from people reporting about sea lion pup sightings along the coast may go unanswered. The phenomenon has had an effect on Sea World as well which shut down its sea lion shows and opened up their facilities for the treatment and care of these orphaned and helpless sea lion pups.

Like previously mentioned, scientists are baffled as to why these huge number of sea lion pups are heading toward the shores. What happened to their mothers? There is no definite answer yet. However, speculations is rife about the possibility of climate change being a primary suspect behind this unusual phenomenon. The most likely explanation by scientists is the possibility that the warm waters of the ocean this winter has caused sea lion moms to spend more time looking for food than usual. This causes the sea lions pups to starve. In desperation for food, the sea lion pups tend to wean themselves off their mother’s milk earlier than usual and end up on the beaches in desperate conditions.

Justin Viezbicke, a coordinator with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s California Stranding Network explains a theory to the Associated Press.

“They’re leaving with a very low tank of gas and when they get over here, they’re showing up on the beach basically… starving to death.”

Do you think, climate change is the only cause behind this mysterious phenomenon of starving sea lion pups washing up on beaches across California?

[Photo by Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld San Diego via Getty Images]