Two sea lions, one sick and one dead, washed up near the Santa Monica pier last week--just two of the 82 sea lions, dolphins, and birds that washed ashore in April around Santa Monica. The Santa Monica Daily Press reports that the beached animals are putting a strain on marine rescuers. Many of the sick mammals fell ill because of a neurotoxin found in algae blooms; this year's algae bloom is more intense than in years past, according to the Daily Press. On Wednesday, a 150-lb. female washed up on the south side of the pier and was rescued by officials; later that day a young sea lion floated up near the pier's bridge, but was already dead by the time officials arrived. Marine animal rescuers in Santa Monica are compounded by the fact that people are everywhere--some beach-goers take pictures with the animals, while others try to push them back to sea, which is often deadly to the creatures (and people who do that can get hit with a $10,000 fine and a year in prison).
· Sea Lions Rescued Near Santa Monica Pier [SMDP]