Nation Digest: Sea lion pups starving; more oversight for American Airlines

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Many sea lion pups starved, abandoned

The recent exodus of a large California sea lion colony at Pier 39 in San Francisco was visually stunning, local marine biologists said, but it's probably normal and is probably also happening just south in the Monterey Bay area.

It has been a difficult year for seal lions along the California coast, said Pat Morris, research coordinator at Año Nuevo State Park and Reserve. In spite of a normal birth rate, about 75 percent of the sea lion pups born on the Channel Islands in Southern California starved, abandoned by their mothers.

Morris said food sources might have been too deep to reach, too far north or too far off the coast. Mothers wouldn't be able to feed themselves and get back with enough food for their pups.

At Seal Rock at Lighthouse Point this summer, surfers passed within feet of about 70 yearlings too weak to scuttle off or respond. The Marine Mammal Center, based in Sausalito, Calif., was overwhelmed with starving yearlings.

"Mom took care of them until they were 9 months old, but once they were on their own, they couldn't make it," Morris said.

-- McClatchy Tribune


American Airlines faces more oversight

The Federal Aviation Administration is increasing oversight of American Airlines after three mishaps during landings last month.

Jetliners' wingtips touched the ground during two landings, one in Charlotte, N.C., on Dec. 13, the other in Austin on Dec. 24. And in Jamaica, a plane overshot the runway during heavy rain Dec. 22.

FAA officials said they will conduct a review to see whether there might be a larger issue. A spokesman for American said the company is cooperating with the FAA and is conducting its own investigation.

-- Associated Press

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