A jump in the number of stranded sea lions has been keeping authorities busy this year, so much so that one La Jolla family had a pup on their back patio for more than a day.
SeaWorld has rescued more than 185 sea lion pups so far in 2015. That number is nearly as many as SeaWorld rescued in all of 2014.
One of those pups landed in a family's La Jolla backyard. Homeowner Chris Acks said the sea lion that wandered into the family's backyard looked malnourished.
It stayed for a day before it wandered back into the ocean, but it was long enough for five-year-old granddaughter Mary to decide the pup was a boy and to give it a name.
"He's very cute and very nice," Mary said.
The rescued pups this year have not been in good health condition, said SeaWorld’s Dave Koontz. Some pups have weighed in around 20 pounds at the time of their rescue, just over their birth weight. Normally, sea lion pups are 50 to 60 pounds.
When SeaWorld takes the sea lions in, they stabilize them and in some cases tube feed them back to health, Koontz said. They make sure the pups can compete for food in a pool before bringing them back out to sea to an area they know has food.
Koontz said there is a clear shortage of food in the water, though he could not comment on why that was the case.
The Acks family said goodbye to their temporary visitor after it wandered back into the ocean before SeaWorld could come rescue it.
If you find a stranded sea lion, don’t approach the pup or try to feed it. Instead, call SeaWorld’s rescue line at 800- 541-7325. SeaWorld has been flooded with calls about the stranded pups. At time, they will wait to come and rescue the pups because sometimes the animals will go back into the water on their own.