In the most sobering study of extinction yet, a team of Bay Area scientists says that animal species are disappearing at an accelerating rate — portending the sixth mass extinction in the 4.5-billion-year history of the Earth. “We are entering a mass extinction equivalent to what happened to the dinosaurs” unless conservation efforts are intensified, said UC Berkeley paleontologist Anthony D. Barnosky and an author of the report, which was published Friday. If the trend continues, “within two human lifetimes we are in danger of losing three of four species on Earth,” he said.
San Pedro’s Marine Mammal Care Center is set to open its new 300-square-foot enclosure Thursday. And it’s coming just in time. This year looks to be a repeat of 2013 and 2014, when starving sea lion pups turned up on beaches in large numbers, taxing the center’s space and resources. Actually, thus far, 2015 seems even worse. For comparison, by this time last year, the center had admitted 24 animals, said David Bard, executive director of the Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur in Angels Gate Park. So far this year, he said the center has brought in 48 animals for treatment.