Sick Sea Lion Pups Show Up on California Beaches

Sick and starving sea lion pups are turning up on California beaches at a time when they should be nursing with their mothers in the Channel Islands or Mexico.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that rescuers from San Diego to San Francisco Bay last month picked up 250 frail pups.

The Marine Mammal Center south of San Francisco is holding about 100 sea lions in a rehab center. They usually have about a dozen this time of year.

The center reports that wayward pups are emaciated and very underweight.

The cause of the problem is unclear. Scientists say warmer coastal waters could be forcing nursing mothers to head out further for food, leaving their young behind for too long.

The population of California sea lions is healthy with an estimated 300,000 today.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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