This morning on our beach walk, I first noticed three signs and yellow tape.
We stopped to read the signs and a woman approached us wearing a hat that said volunteer for some marine life organization. She said there was a distressed sea lion ahead. It had been resting on the beach behind the signs and yellow tape.
Then when a young woman was walking her pit bull, the dog pulled out of its harness and attacked the sea lion.
The volunteer from the Channel Islands Marine Wildlife Institute told us the sea lion escaped into the ocean. She explained that the sea lion was suffering from Domoic Acid poisoning, which is caused by algae bloom.
My husband said that algae bloom happens every year. Isn’t that a normal thing? Wouldn’t sea lions be used to it?
She said they were inundated with calls about sick sea lions along the coast and that the Domoic Acid poisoning could be fatal. The volunteers were out observing the sea lions from sunrise to sunset along the beaches. Apparently stress could make the illness worse. She was standing on the beach all day to keep people and dogs away from the sick sea lion.
I asked if we could still take our morning walk.
“If you have to,” she answered. “Please stay along the cliffs and as far away from the sea lion as possible.”
We started on our walk, but as we got closer to the sea lion, we turned around. It wasn’t worth it.
We also spotted the young woman with her pit bull walking down a trail to finish their morning walk. She was avoiding the volunteer who was positioned by the signs. The young woman spotted the sea lion in the ocean in front of her and thankfully turned her dog around and headed back up the trail.
If you want to read more about the sea lions and Domoic Acid poisoning, here’s an article from the local news. The article said the Institute is fielding 50 to 100 calls a day.
Who knew that stress was so harmful to sea lions? What are your thoughts about what stress can do to us?
I think stress is what breaks us down in the end. If we don’t learn how to deal with it in a proper way, we’re doomed. But we need to realize that unless you’re a monk, stress is a part of your life
I need to work on handling stress better. I don’t handle it well and tend to go overboard with worrying. Unfortunately I’m not a monk.
I’m going to try restorative yoga. I read about it in a memoir and it sounds intriguing
I used to go to yoga class before my ski crash and knee surgery. My knee doesn’t have flexibility anymore. I could try with limited movements. Better than nothing?
We see this often on both our WA coast and hear of it in OR as well. As a human I can vouch for the fact that stress can be quite harmful, not just emotionally but physically. The release of stress hormones in the body can seriously mess with all body systems. It’s a known issue in animals as well, especially if they have been injured.
I know about algae bloom but I didn’t know it was toxic to sea lions. I can feel the effect of stress on my own body.
I am more interested in why the skank with the pit bull was not cited and fined? The sign was pretty clear.
Right? And that she had the nerve to come back down to the beach!
Aww, poor thing. I hope it recovers soon
The volunteer said the toxicity targets their heart and brain. There’s 72 hours of danger and if they get through it they can recover.
How sad. I do hope they all survive
I read they lost one on Monday.
I haven’t read any updates. I’m not sure I want to.
Yes, it’s depressing and you can’t do anything about it
I hope the sea lions will be OK! Stress definitely can hurt us physically in more ways than we think.
Until I heard about the sea lions, I hadn’t thought about how stress can affect us physically.
I had not heard about this situation with the Sea Lions. Sad indeed and I AGREE, why was that woman and her pit bull still trying to walk the beach??!!
I know! So annoying. The volunteer told us the dog’s harness was broken.
Well, then FIX the harness, THEN come back to the beach… SORRY, that’s what she needed to do.
I agree! If that dog would attack a sea lion, what would it do to other dogs or people?
Stress can actually kill if we aren’t careful.
I hadn’t thought about it before learning about the sea lions.
That’s a shame that the sea lions are dealing with the toxin, and nice that there are volunteers to protect them from people and vicious dogs.
It is nice that people are willing to spend their time protecting the marine life.
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