Lounging Sea Lion On Central Oregon Coast May Be Sick - Video
(Lincoln City, Oregon) – A California sea lion has been resting on a beach at Lincoln City for three days, and it has officials a little concerned. The sea lion - a male juvenile, the equivalent of a teen – appears to be rather sickly.
Jane Holbrook, a volunteer with the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, was standing on this beach Wednesday in the Nelscott district, keeping an eye on it and informing onlookers. Meanwhile, she takes calls from other reports around the coastline of stranded animals on the shore.
“We’re kind of concerned about him because he’s thin and underweight,” Holbrook said. “And the fact he’s been here for so long.”
Holbrook said there’s hope because he’s still moving a bit – a good sign.
She personally set the signs around it, telling people to stay away, as well as drew a large circle around the creature, with the word “danger” scrawled in the sand.
She fields about a dozen questions from only a few passersby, all curious about one aspect or another of the sad looking sea lion. She explains to everyone that it’s illegal to go near them while they’re resting on the sand.
“They are federally protected,” Holbrook tells them. “Although they’re not endangered around here. Their populations are healthy here, so there’s no intervention, like feeding.”
She also warns that touching them, especially when they seem to be suffering of some sort of ailment, could result in catching whatever they have, because some viruses that affect sea lions can be transmitted to people or pets.
As Holbrook explains that these creatures need to come ashore periodically (although usually on rocky outcroppings that are away from humans), her cell phone rings. It’s a call from around Bandon about another stranded sea creature down south.
Meanwhile, down on the beach, the sea lion moves periodically. A woman and her tween daughter approach the perimeter and take pictures. The daughter appears a bit upset by the sea lion’s state and needs a comforting hug from her mom.
Holbrook recently took on this position to free up members of the stranding network at its headquarters at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. She’s now busy coordinating pick up efforts, fielding calls, and most of all informing the public – something she’s quite passionate about.
“I just really want to get the word out about how people need to leave these alone,” Holbrook said.
Part of the reason she wants these incidents so public is what the sea lion could transmit to humans. It could be leptospirosis, a bacterial infection of the kidneys. Animals infected with this appear quite lethargic and unable to move hind limbs. They can recover from this, if left alone so nature can do its work.
But in the meantime, if this is indeed the disease the sea lion is suffering from, humans and pets can get it.
There have been a lot of strandings just in the last week alone, Holbrook said. One of the more poignant is a sea lion in Yaquina Bay that appears to be entangled in something. He’ll probably have to be caught so officials can remove it.
Among the other recent strandings: a sea lion showed up this week in Netarts with some gashes on its body. He appeared October 12, and the network is still keeping an eye on him.
Holbrook said there were other sea lions in Newport’s Nye Beach, Fort Stevens and around Waldport – which left. There was a visibly ill seal in Cannon Beach and a seal at Tierra Del Mar (near Pacific City) that potentially had wounds as well.
Lincoln City's Nelscott district at low tide
More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....
LATEST OREGON COAST NEWS STORIES
Back to Oregon Coast