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2015-2016 Guadalupe Fur Seal Unusual Mortality Event in California
Increased strandings of Guadalupe fur seals have occurred along the entire coast of California. Guadalupe fur seals strandings began in January 2015 and were eight times higher than the historical average. Strandings peaked from April through June 2015 and have since lessened.
Report a stranded fur seal or sea lion
The most important step members of the public can take to assist investigators is to immediately report strandings to the California Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Make the report by calling the West Coast Stranding Hotline at 866-767-6114
Report stranded fur seals or sea lions (or any marine mammal) to the local California stranding network.
Species Identification Tips
|Guadalupe fur seal||thick, uniform dark brown to black fur||males can reach 7 ft and 400 - 490 lbs; females 5 ft and 100-120 lbs|
|California sea lion||juveniles and females are golden brown to blonde; adult males are dark brown to black||males can reach 7.5 ft and 700 - 1000 lbs; females 6ft and 240 lbs|
Why are Guadalupe fur seals stranding?
Guadalupe fur seal are stranding alive and dead and are mostly weaned pups and juveniles (1-2 years old). Findings from the majority of stranded animals include malnutrition with secondary bacterial and parasitic infections.
All live stranded Guadalupe fur seals are being rescued by local marine mammal stranding network members and undergoing long-term rehabilitation at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California or SeaWorld in San Diego, California.
As part of the UME investigation process, an independent team of scientists (Investigative Team) is being assembled to coordinate with the Working Group on Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events to review the data collected, sample future Guadalupe fur seals that strand and determine the next steps for the investigation.
FAQs are available for:
- this ongoing Guadalupe fur seal UME in California
- Recording of 9/29/15 Press Call (mp3)
- Unusual Mortality Events
- National Marine Mammal Stranding Network
Updated: October 27, 2015