Sea Lion Injuries

Ryan Murphy took these photos of some of the injured marine mammals showing up at Race Rocks this year . See more on his Fickr Site .

rmsept282009injury

I heard a very interesting interview on CBC Radio today dealing with the presence of empathy in mammals. This image would then appear to depict “pre-concern”, a concept new to me!

An article entitled “Sea lions at Victoria’s Race Rocks injured by debris, boats” just ran in Victoria’s Times Colonist that quoted me. See it here:http://www.racerocks.ca/racerock/news/debris.htm

Anna Hall, a marine zoologist also quoted in the article suggests showing graphic images to children to warn them of the dangers posed to sea lions. This series is a response to that suggestion and not biased propaganda as I have been accused of.

This image summarizes the article’s headline. Two California sea lions, one with some marine junk entangled around its neck (a death sentence), and another whose front flipper has been nearly severed by a boat’s propeller (it is currently wasting away from not being able to hunt for food).

An update from a NOAA research biologist and a veterinarian who specializes in marine mammals: Both experts agree the wound has been present for so long that the original source of the trauma is impossible to say with scientific certainty. Possible causes include orca bite, entanglement, and boat strike.
The sliced flipper has been cautiously identified as either a whale or orca attack, or a boat strike.