It is so sad to see that so many Sea Lion pups are washing up on the beaches in California. There have been more than 2000 sea lion pups that have washed ashore this year alone. The reason they are coming up to shore is because the water is warmer.
Also, it is thought that the area has been overfished, and there are not enough sardines or squids which is the food source for Sea Lions.
“Scientists believe warmer coastal waters force the prey of sea lions — squid and sardines, for example — deeper beneath the ocean’s surface. Then nursing sea lion mothers must look further afield for food, leaving their pups for longer than normal. Deprived of sustenance and weakened, the pups limply wash ashore.”(source Washington Post)
It is not uncommon to see them at our local beaches, and visitors think they are cute and approach them and attempt to take photos, touch them or try to move them or put them back in the water. Lifeguards have been informed to take a photo and send the location of the Sea Lion pup to Marine Mammal Rescue Centers. Sadly though, many of these rescue organizations are full, and they cannot take any more. They are often malnourished and dehydrated. The sea lion below is at the base of a lifeguard tower in Huntington Beach.
What can you do?
You can donate to the Marine Mammal Center and they also have a wish list of items that they need in order to help to take care of these sea lions.
Please if you are visiting one of California Beaches, and encounter a sea lion, please:
1. Do not touch, try to pick up, feed the animal or pour water on the animal.
2. Do not try and return it to the water.
3. Keep at least 50′ away and keep your dogs away from it too, they are scared, sick and malnourished. Also you would not want to get bit by one as they are not tame.
4. Notify a lifeguard or other authorized personnel as they have been instructed in who to contact or contact a local Marine Mammal Center.
There is also a wish list at the Marine Mammal Center where you can donate needed items such as non-flavored pedialyte, Dawn liquid detergent, trash bags, paper towels, gas cards. Please view their website for a complete list.