Hundreds of California sea lions starving
March 20, 2015
Along 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.