LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Radiation from Japan’s nuclear disaster is being looked at as one possible cause for what some experts are declaring an “unusual mortality event” after hundreds of ailing sea lion pups washed ashore in Southern California.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has assembled a team that includes biologists, veterinarians and public health officials, among others.
The team will investigate why so many sick and dying sea lions have turned up on the beaches of Los Angeles, Orange, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Diego counties.
Since Jan. 1, more than 900 sea lions have been admitted to rehabilitation facilities, far outpacing historical stranding rates for 2008 to 2012, according to NOAA.
The agency says it’s unlikely that radiation is to blame but it hasn’t been ruled out.
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