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Pelicans Sick, Dying Along the Ventura, Santa Barbara Coast

VENTURA (AP) — A local rescue group has found dozens of sick and dying pelicans along the Ventura and Santa Barbara coasts.

The Ventura County Star reported Saturday that one cause of the condition of the pelicans is likely domoic acid poisoning. Domoic acid is a naturally occurring toxin in algae.

Animal Care Director for the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network Julia Parker says fish eat the algae but generally not enough to harm them. Sea lions and birds, however, eat so many of the fish that they are digesting a level that is toxic to them.

Parker said the group’s volunteers rescued 17 pelicans from January through March. Then in April, the group took in 15, and then 39 in May.