This sea lion pup is one of about 100 needing care for illnesses, malnutrition and dehydration off the coast of Los Angeles. This photograph was taken during normal or routine rehabilitation procedures performed under a stranding agreement issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
More sea lions have beached themselves in California this year, according to marine mammal care facilities in Southern California.
SeaWorld and other rehabilitation centers across the state have seen an increase of sea lions needing care.
More than 90 malnourished and dehydrated sea lion pups were have been brought to a Los Angeles animal care facility so far this year.
“I don’t know what’s causing the increased number now,” Dave Bard, director of the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro, told NBC. “We really don’t know.”
Seven sea lions and one seal were recently transferred to SeaWorld San Diego because the San Pedro center reached capacity.
SeaWorld officials said they have rescued 63 marine mammals from San Diego beaches so far this year. They attribute the increase of malnourished sea lions to lack of food sources, saying the majority of animals are malnourished or dehydrated.