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California sea lion Superstition
In the News

LA Times: Sea lions are dying from a mysterious cancer. The culprits? Herpes and DDT

January 31, 2021
  • Cancer
  • Herpesvirus
  • Pollution

Sea lions are dying from a mysterious cancer. The culprits? Herpes and DDT

Published by LA Times: January 31, 2021

On a former Cold War missile base perched high above the Golden Gate Bridge, in what is now the largest marine mammal hospital in the world, Frances Gulland still remembers the shock she felt when she first started working here as a veterinarian 26 years ago.

A male sea lion had washed ashore in severe pain. His hind flippers were swollen, his lymph nodes riddled with tumors. Cancer had taken over his kidneys and turned his spine to mush. First responders at the Marine Mammal Center told Gulland they saw this in sea lions all the time.

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Pádraig Duignan
California Sea Lion