Painting by Jonathan Raddatz
Associated Press reports: At island rookeries off the Southern California coast, 45 percent of the pups born in June have died, said Sharon Melin, a wildlife biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service based in Seattle. Normally, less than one-third of the pups would die.
It’s gotten so bad in the past two weeks that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared an “unusual mortality event.” That will allow more scientists to join the search for the cause, Melin said.
Even the pups that are making it are markedly underweight …. Rescuers have had to leave the worst of them in an effort to save the strongest ones, she said.
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