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Jul 21, 2014 9:57 PM by Charlie Misra

2 dead sea lions found on shores of Shell Beach

Two dead sea lions were found on the shores of Shell Beach Monday, but wildlife experts say this is not an uncommon sight.

Fish and Wildlife says don't touch it. You run the risk of catching a disease.

Sightings like this are nothing unusual and it's safe to observe from a distance.

Amanda Isaacson and her good friend went to Shell Beach Monday morning to pass the time, but they weren't prepared for what they saw.

"We just decided to come down, stroll down to the beach and that's what we smelled," said Isaacson. "So we walked over and looked at it. And I was like, 'Oh my God, that's a dead seal.'"

California Fish and Wildlife Lieutenant Todd Tognazzini says the Central Coast enjoys a sizable sea lion population.

But it's not uncommon for them to die of natural causes, and for the ocean tides to bring their bodies on shore.

"I think it's gross," said Isaacson. "It's like there's a dead seal and no one's here to clean it up. I mean, how did it even happen?"

Marine Mammal Center officials say there's been a huge increase in the number of sick sea lions and seals on the Central Coast.

They say most rescued mammals are malnourished sea lion pups that may have been abandoned too soon by their mothers.

Others are suffering from the effects of "red tide" acid produced by a harmful algae bloom.

Tognazzini says because sea lions are so large, it's difficult to get the proper equipment to move them, so often times agencies will leave the body alone, and let the cycle of life run its course.

"I mean, what if a little kid came out here and was like, 'Mom, look, a dead seal.' I wouldn't want my kid to see that," said Isaacson.

If you find a dead marine mammal, call the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Its stranding hotline number is (562) 506-4313

State fish and wildlife officials say sea lions do not draw as much concern since they are not an endangered species.

Sea otters on the other hand are endangered.

If you find an endangered marine mammal that's dead or needs help, call the fish and wildlife anonymous caller line at 1 (888) 334-2258.



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