Hundreds of Sick Sea Lion Pups Wash Ashore
California animal-rescue facility declares state of emergency.
The Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach (map) has more than 80 sea lion pups in their care, an "alarming" number, the organization said on their website. On March 9 the facility took in 12 pups, the highest number of rescues recorded in a single day in the center's history.
Most of the sea lion pups are severely malnourished, dehydrated, and underweight, requiring major intervention to get the mammals healthy enough to be released back into the wild.
"The last time we had this many sea lions this early in the year was 15 years ago," director of animal care Michele Hunter said in a statement.
In 1998, an El Niño weather pattern warmed the waters off the