In recent years, a disturbing trend has been observed in California – sea lions have become aggressive in attacking people. However, studies have shown that the reason for this is not a change in the animals’ behavior, but rather the presence of a neurotoxin in their bodies.
The neurotoxin, known as domoic acid, is a product of the uncontrolled reproduction of certain species of algae. This toxin is ingested by sea lions through their main food source, fish. After consuming contaminated fish, the neurotoxin begins to affect the animals’ nervous system, causing serious changes in their behavior.
One of the main problems is that domoic acid affects the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning. Because of this, sea lions become more aggressive and less able to adapt to their environment. They lose the ability to recognize humans as a non-living threat and begin to attack them.
Researchers also note that the presence of the neurotoxin can lead to coordination problems in sea lions, making them even more dangerous to humans. They become uncontrollable and unpredictable, which increases the risk of attack.
Sea lions suffering from domoic acid also experience digestive and immune system problems. This can lead to serious illness and even death of the animal.
The situation with sea lion attacks on humans in California is causing serious concerns in the scientific community. Scientists are calling for action to prevent further spread of the neurotoxin and to protect both humans and animals.
This requires further research to study the effects of domoic acid on sea lions and to develop methods to control it. It is also important to pay attention to the state of the ecosystem and to take measures to improve water quality in coastal areas to prevent the multiplication of dangerous algae.