Algae can be a marine mammal’s biggest threat; find out why.
California Wildlife Center’s Marine Mammal Response Team (MMRT) was busy during 2011 with a number of rescues involving animals suspected of having Domoic Acid (DA) toxicity. DA toxicity is caused by a common type of algae in the waters off Southern California. These animals tend to exhibit a wide range of symptoms, from head bobbing or weaving, to full seizures that last for seconds or minutes.
It is very important for the public to remember that stress from human interaction of any kind can cause more damage. Trying to touch, move, or even talk around an animal with DA toxicity can cause symptoms to escalate and decreases the chance of survival. If you see a marine mammal on the beach – keep at least 50 feet away and call our Marine Mammal hotline immediately at (310) 458-WILD (9453).
Recently, a Risso’s dolphin washed up dead on County Line Beach and CWC’s Marine Mammal Response Team headed out to retrieve Domoic acid samples. It’s not known if this dolphin died from DA or another cause. The team collected stomach contents and feces samples, which will be sent to the Northwest Fisheries Science Center for testing.