The Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network (SBWCN) and multiple other Californian facilities have been inundated with distressed or dying brown pelicans, and it was recently discovered that the mortality rate for sea lion pups on San Miguel Island recently jumped from 30 to 80 percent. Both the pups and pelicans have been found in unusual places, weak, and with little or atypical food in their intestines. Several tests have been conducted on both species by UC and Department of Fish and Game researchers and experts have found that abnormal water temperatures caused by the unusual El Niño possibly created uncharacteristic migration and placement of prey. Irregular coastal upwelling may also have pushed nutrients and food away from shore. The theories continue to be investigated.


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