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Sea lion bites surfer off Southern California coast

Published: Sat, June 11, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (AP) -- A sea lion that had been charging at beachgoers bit a surfer taking a breather, then waddled into the water and swam away.
Josh Duncan came within 5 feet of the sea lion Friday when it bit him, requiring the 27-year-old surfer to get stitches and a tetanus shot for the inch-long wound on his thigh, lifeguard Capt. Mike Cunningham said.
The bite ripped through his wet suit.
In recent weeks, as many as 70 sick and dying sea lions have been lumbering ashore along Southern California. Scientists believe they're victims of demoic acid poisoning from the seasonal red tide algae bloom.
Demoic acid is a naturally occurring neurotoxin that causes stomach distress, convulsions, central nervous system damage and sometimes death in sea lions. The mammals ingest the acid when they eat anchovies and sardines that have consumed the toxic algae that produces it.
The sea lion that bit Duncan showed symptoms of poisoning, Cunningham said.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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