Hundreds of California sea lions starving

March 20, 2015

sea lion pupAlong Central Coast beaches, more than 500 dead or starving sea lions have washed up on the shore this year. Typically, there would be about 10 stranded pups by this time of the year. [KSBY]

People and agencies are dropping off 10 to 20 young sea lions a day at the Marine Mammal Center in Morro Bay. Most of the pups appear to be close to eight months of age and should weigh about 70 pounds. However, most of the pups weigh closer to 20 pounds.

At the center, volunteers and staff work to rehydrate, feed and stabilize the pups for about a day before they’re moved to another rehabilitation center in Northern California.

In 2015, there have been more than 1,600 stranded sea lions discovered on the California coastline.

Some scientists blame overpopulation. Historically, it was estimated approximately 40,000 sea lions lived in the waters off California, now that number has swelled to over 400,000.

Another theory is that climate change is to blame. Because of warmer ocean temperatures, dwindling fish populations have forced sea lion mothers to spend more time at sea hunting food while their babies sometimes wait more than a week to nurse.



  1. isoslo says:

    Sounds to me like the sharks are failing to perform their job. So the real question should be why aren’t the sharks picking off the weak sea lions?

    (10) 14 Total Votes - 12 up - 2 down
    • Rambunctious says:

      Maybe surfers taste better…

      (3) 9 Total Votes - 6 up - 3 down
      • Maxfusion says:

        They’re horrible, and that’s why we take just one bite. Baby sea lions, now that’s a different story. Yum yum

        Gil the Great White

        (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
  2. DennySLO says:

    I hate to have to bring up the truth however sad as it is; this is the way nature runs its
    natural course. We as human beings just can’t fathom allowing animals to perish; we
    must jump into the middle and save them. The over population is in part due to our

    The strong will and do survive.

    (27) 29 Total Votes - 28 up - 1 down
    • slojustice says:

      Well said!

      (16) 18 Total Votes - 17 up - 1 down
    • r0y says:

      NO WAY! We cannot pass up this opportunity to cry about “climate change” and spread FUD to the ignorant masses. It’ll be perfect! We’ve got the little ones indoctrinated, now we can just point to this and say, “See? This is what mankind is doing to the environment!” Do not think that is NOT happening.

      Fewer fish for the now 400,000 (10x the previously-measured population) to eat? Probably. I bet there was PLENTY of fish for 40,000 of them, though. Besides, if the ocean gets warmer, wouldn’t fish just change migratory / habitat patterns? I mean, there ARE fish who live in warmer waters, as there are fish that live in cooler waters. This would not be the first time the oceans temperature changed. I’d bet it’s changed a lot over the geological history of this rock.

      (7) 15 Total Votes - 11 up - 4 down
      • OnTheOtherHand says:

        While I am sure that there are some who will automatically assume this sea lion die-off is due to climate change, I have not seen any expert opinion on the subject one way or the other yet. It might be the primary cause, it might be one of several contributing causes or it might be unrelated. We simply don’t know yet.

        That said, the die-off is not proof of climate change or lack thereof in any manner. Climate change is what it is and the proof is in a steady pattern of average global temperatures rising — particularly in the oceans. At most, the sea lion deaths are merely one of many symptoms of it.

        (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
  3. Rambunctious says:

    If there are dwindling fish populations it has nothing to do with “Global Warming” I would look at the 10 fold increase in Sea Lion population before I would lay blame on a weather hoax.

    (14) 24 Total Votes - 19 up - 5 down
    • taxpayer says:

      The sea lion population doubles every six years. A sea lion eats about 20% of it’s body weight daily.
      Great for the environment.

      (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down
      • r0y says:

        It’s like a politician. Consumes double their body weight in bribes, back-room deals, and pay packages. Great for the economy.

        (8) 12 Total Votes - 10 up - 2 down
  4. Rich in MB says:

    Folks….it’s called Evolution and natural population control.
    If we save all these dying sea lions all we are doing is making ourselves feel good but setting up a larger problem in the future when the sea lion population gets out of balance.
    Let the weak and sick die like nature intended and stop making these mistakes of “saving baby seal lions” which only hurts the greater population of sea loins.
    This is the classic case of letting your emotions overtake science and nature. If the fish population can’t sustain more sea lions how in the world are you helping the situation by making MORE sea lions?

    Pure rock-gut feel good insanity.

    (18) 24 Total Votes - 21 up - 3 down

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