Neurotoxin Killing Dolphins and Seals on Faria Beach

By Patti Gutshall

It was a sad day at Faria Beach.  Three deceased dolphins, deceased and dying sea lions all along the beach.

One sea lion has been deceased laying on Faria Beach for several months.  The dolphins have been washing up on the beach the last few days. 

One group of people pulled a dolphin back into the water. It died ending up on the rocks.  Authorities have been receiving 100’s of phone calls.  When we left in the late afternoon there were dolphins out in the water jumping and splashing, it left us with hope that this will end soon. 

To report animals on the beach call Channel Islands Marine & WildlifeInstitute (CIMWI) 805-567-1506.

They are suffering from a neurotoxin and CIMWI is getting to whatever the can as soon as possible! But the brain damage is irreversible. Please call our hotline 805.567.1505 or make an online report. We are in a crisis situation and are responding as fast as we can.


Written by SBRocks

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  1. “After a social media post showing a deceased dolphin on Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara, multiple other sightings were also listed by the public. The comments revealed many deceased dolphins and sea lions in areas including Padaro Beach, Isla Vista, Haskells, and along the Rincon.
    No official causes of death have been released by marine mammal experts.
    The Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute (CIMWI) has been receiving calls since the middle of May.
    Volunteers who live in the area have been responding to check the animals and see if they can be rescued at the rehabilitation center on the Gaviota Coast.
    Southern California scientists are sampling harmful algae and recently the numbers were high in the channel. That was a warning sign.
    At first, there were some calls, about one a day. That has increased to over 100 a day, often for the same animals. Reports of deceased or sick marine mammals are becoming overwhelming for the organization. “Now we are up to 14-15 (sea lions) a day and 14 dolphins in the last five days in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties,” said Sam Dover, Founder and Chief Veterinarian with CIMWI.
    Decisions have to be made on the spot but the chances of saving the animal’s life from this illness is said to be low.
    A beach visitor Trevor Wilkinson and his son Rennon helped out with a rescue on the west end of Hendry’s beach Tuesday. It was a struggle that took five people. He said, “that poor guy did not want to go into the cargo area. We don’t have the ability to explain to him we are here to help him. ”
    Seeing the behavior of the sea lion, Wilkinson said, “you can tell he is already disoriented, not able to focus. The poor guy is scared.” Wilkinson helped with the transport crate used to safely secure the animal.
    There were other sick sea lions on the beach nearby in areas marked by the rescue teams to keep the public out.
    Some were moving around and might return to the ocean but timing is essential to save their lives.
    Ken Hughes is a volunteer with Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute. He said, “they can dissipate the toxin from their body within a 24 to 72 period. If we can get to them and get fluids into them and other treatments we feel it helps them out.”
    Hughes showed the rescued sea lion to some students on a field trip before the mammal was driven away. “I feel like we need to get the young children involved so they can see nature and when they go to school they can study this.”
    Since last week the marine life impacted by the algae bloom and toxins has been significant.
    Hughes said calls are coming in all day and he is making rescues starting at 7 a.m. He said there were “20 different animals on the beach. ” Hughes said, dolphins are very difficult to save. “We try to respond to them if we can but by the time we get there they have already passed.”
    Common dolphins and coastal bottlenose dolphins are found in our local waters. This toxic bloom is only affecting the Common dolphins based on their feeding patterns.

    For animals in rehabilitation with domoic acid, supportive care treatment includes flushing the toxin out of the animal’s body with subcutaneous fluids, administering anti-seizure medication and feeding the sea lion uncontaminated fish. There is no known cure for domoic acid. In many cases, sea lions with DA can recover, forage and survive in the wild.
    This particular algal bloom of Pseudonitzschia australis seems much stronger than CIMWI has ever experienced and it is attacking our sea lions more intensely.
    For more information or to make a donation go to : Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute (CIMWI)

  2. It’s sad but here is your answer, El Niño and it’s expected to be a strong El Niño this year …the Pacific ocean has been warming for a while and will bring much rain this season to our area expected to be like the 1997 El Nino mudslides, flooding while hot temperatures flushing Canada and continuing fires, droughts are predicted for parts of the World….The warm Pacific waters are promoting algae blooms which are impacting marine life…while EL Nino is a common event, Climate Change is making weather more severe…if humans don’t take drastic steps we will end up like herds of animals having to relocate seasonally which will cause economic devastation, as well as wars for resources…it’s ridiculous how trillions are spent on political posturing for candidates when this money can be better spent building sustainable infrastructures and reducing fossil fuels which are driving warming…if you would like to read about the predicted EL Nino click on

  3. Sun, leave it to the experts. They haven’t identified a cause. You’re speculating. El Niño is PREDICTED for this summer, not in place yet. The warm equatorial waters are just that at this point, equatorial – they’re not here yet. Our local waters are at average temps at best right now. MTNDRIVER’s idea makes a lot more sense than yours. Pour in a ton of freshwater and land-based nutrients, combined with cool water upwelling and you’ll get algae blooms of all sorts.

  4. Thank you CIMWI, Channel Island Marine Wildlife Institute for the important work you and your
    wonderful volunteers do. Costs at your rehab center for feeding fresh fish to the sick pinnipeds is
    high. And more volunteers are always needed. I volunteered with my son for two years and loved it. The training was interesting and camaraderie among volunteers was fun. Getting to help marine life , and being part of something hopeful was meaningful. Hope our community helps support your efforts with donations and more people to volunteer. Ruth and Sam run a well organized, caring rehab center near Gaviota that is all part of CIMWI .

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