This is the “worst year ever” for the toxin linked to higher water temperatures and pollution, experts warn. Algae so toxic that it’s causing fatal brain damage in California sea lions is the latest problem plaguing ocean animal rescue operations along the Pacific coast. Domoic acid poisoning is emerging as a key threat this year to the animals that ingest the toxin while eating fish and other sea creatures that feed on algae, rescue organizations in southern California warn. Some birds and dolphins have also been affected by the algae, which authorities warn can be harmful to humans who eat shellfish.
The neurotoxin that the Pseudo-nitzschia algae produces can destroy the brains of sea lions until they no longer know basic survival functions, such as how to evade predators and find food. It can cause sea lions to have seizures and paralysis, while one of the key signs of this dementia is when they are seen rolling their heads repeatedly.
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