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Sea World receives seven stranded sea lions, one fur seal

February 27, 2013 |  2:38 pm


Record numbers of emaciated sea lion pups are showing up from Santa Barbara to San Diego, as The Times recently reported.

One possibility is the pups' mothers are having to venture farther out to sea for food, leaving offspring to fend for themselves.

The high number of pups in need of rehabilitation is straining the capacity and resources of rescue centers, requiring coordination between the centers.

On Monday, seven California sea lions and one Guadalupe fur seal were transferred to SeaWorld San Diego from the Marine Mammal Center at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro. Most had been stranded on beaches, suffering from malnutrition and dehydration.

Not counting the eight transferred animals, SeaWorld in the first two months of this year has rescued 57 California sea lions, one harbor seal, two elephant seals and two dolphins. The usual figure is 150 rescues in 12 months.

The goal, SeaWorld officials said, is to get the pups strong enough to be returned to the ocean. On Tuesday, a harbor seal rescued the week before Christmas was released.


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-- Tony Perry in San Diego