Grumpy Sea Lions – The Complete Exposé

The little, well probably not so little, sea lion who terrorized Aquatic Park officials visitors, nipping and herding swimmers out of the water and giving me my 15 minutes of Google fame for the phrase “grumpy sea lion bites” hasn’t resurfaced since I last wrote about him.

I, however, followed up on the story and in doing so apparently think like an editor at the AP who sent a reporter, Marcus Wohlsen, out to find out if our hero was still controlling the San Francisco waters in order to write a story about the dangers poised by our flippered friend. Mr Wohlsen seems to have uncovered a whole series of sea lion attacks; a plot perhaps; part of a great sea lion conspiracy to control the world.

Tourists flock to Fisherman’s Wharf for the seafood and the stunning views of San Francisco Bay, but for many visitors, the real stars are the dozens of playful, whiskered sea lions that lounge by the water’s edge, gulping down fish.

Now a series of sea-lion attacks on people in recent months has led experts to warn that the animals are not as cute and cuddly as they appear.

But thankfully scientists spokespeople call for calm.

“People should understand these animals are out there not to attack people or humans. But they’re out there to survive for themselves,” said Jim Oswald, a spokesman for the Marine Mammal Center across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.

OK. Maybe it’s not a conspiracy, but something fishy is going on here. What has caused this plethora of attacks; the bite-and-go attacks in November, a charge, bite and waddle in Manhattan Beach in June and a biting in Berkeley last spring? And who can forget the crowd of sea lion hooligans who briefly took over the Newport Beach marina last year? It’s etched indelibly into my brain, I’ll tell you that!

The causes? Social? Political? Some are claiming bio-chemical. Seals on weed if you will.

Humans could also be contributing to aggression in sea lions in another way: Toxic algae blooms fed by agricultural runoff and other pollution can lead to the poisoning of marine mammals by a chemical called domoic acid, which can cause brain damage. The Marine Mammal Center treated more than 200 sea lions for domoic acid poisoning last year.

Veterinarians at the center believe the brain damage caused by the poison could have led to the marauding animal’s erratic behavior in Aquatic Park, Oswald said, though they cannot be sure without actually examining the sea lion.

(Note: I’ll just leave the snark about treating sea lions for substance abuse for a later date when I address the issue of imprisonment for drug use. And what about the dealers? Let’s just ask – is this the kind of thing we want our children exposed to? Hmm, is it? WWBO’RS – What Would Bill O’Reily Shriek?)

Anyway, I am starting to see a pattern here and I’m fairly sure its not synaesthesia. I have I theory! It’s all part of a plan by Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot better known as The Penguin! I haven’t figured out exactly what he is planning and the bat computer is on the fritz but I will keep you informed.

Just like the AP editors who send reporters out to do sea lion exposés.

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