Tags: sick | sea lion | pups | california

Sick Sea Lion Pups: California Rescue Operations Overwhelmed by Numbers

By    |   Monday, 16 Mar 2015 05:15 PM

Hundreds of sea lion pups, sick and starving, are washing ashore in California and overwhelming rescue operations trying to keep them alive.

Between 1,100 and 1,450 pups, many weighing one-third of what they should for their age, have been rescued from California beaches, a number more than five times greater than in 2013.

“These animals are coming in really desperate. They're at the end of life. They're in a crisis ... and not all animals are going to make it," Keith A. Matassa, executive director at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, told The Associated Press.

Fox 5 reported that SeaWorld has rescued more than 480 sea lion pups this year, a record in the 51-year history of the organization.

To help with the influx of sick and starving pups, SeaWorld suspended its sea lion and otter shows to devote manpower to the rescue operation, Fox 5 said. They built two temporary holding tanks, as well.

The AP said the unprecedented number of starving pups was caused by warmer El Niño weather affecting the birthing grounds off the Southern California coast. Warm water forces the foods sea lions eat to the north, and sea lion mothers tend to leave their pups for longer periods of time as they search for food.

“The pups, scientists believe, are weaning themselves early out of desperation and setting out on their own despite being underweight and ill-prepared to hunt,” the AP said.

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center has been participating in sea lion rescue efforts, and the organization keeps a live camera so people can check in on the recovering sea lions. The non-profit also names the sea lions in their care and posts information about them. Cecil, for instance, is a female sea lion pup suffering from malnutrition and dehydration.





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Hundreds of sea lion pups, sick and starving, are washing ashore in California and overwhelming rescue operations trying to keep them alive.
sick, sea lion, pups, california
362
2015-15-16
Monday, 16 Mar 2015 05:15 PM
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