Rash of Sea lion deaths spark investigation on Island
Investigators have spent Friday looking for answers at a beach near Union Bay, where more dead sea lions have just emerged. The eight new discoveries add to the two dead sea lions found earlier this week.
Investigators with Fisheries and Oceans travelled to the scene today, and say this is highly unusual to see so many dead marine mammals in such a short period of time.
Fisheries expert Paul Cottrell rushes to hit the water off Union Bay where eight dead California sealions have just been reported, Making 10 this week alone on the beaches of Vancouver Island.
“Having so many animals dead in one location at the same time is obviously something of concern so that’s why we’re out here today – to hopefully figure out what happened,” says Cottrell.
These latest discoveries were made by workers at a Union Bay log sort. Five of the mammals were found laying lifeless on a log boom and three more in the water nearby Thursday, but not headless like the one found washed up on Comox’s Kye Bay.
“They’re all intact and in fairly good shape but we want to have a look to see if we can determine what the cause of death was,” says Cottrell.
The waters of Baynes Sound are packed with the hungry and loud marine mammals this time of year as herring run through the area.
“In Fanny Bay you can hear them day and night, just bark bark bark bark – they never stop,” says Phil Green who works on the docks at Fanny Bay.
Green says the numbers of sea lions appear to be way up this year.
“Yeah there seems like there are a lot this time of year,” he says.
Whether the deaths were by predation, fighting or possibly man caused will be determined by necropsies.
“To hopefully determine what may have caused so many animals to die in one spot,” says Cottrell.