High numbers of California sea lions are being cared for by SeaWorld California’s animal rescue team in San Diego after being stranded on local beaches.
The marine park has rescued 62 sick sea lions since 1 January 2015 - an unusually high number for such a short period of time and earlier in the season than normal. Other marine mammal facilities along the coast of California have reported the same trend.
The animals, aged between six to eight months old, are extremely lethargic, malnourished and dehydrated. Some of them are also suffering from hypothermia, hypoglycemia, pneumonia, parasite infections, pox virus or other illnesses that vulnerable animals can be susceptible to when their immune systems become compromised. SeaWorld’s animal care specialists and veterinarians are treating the animals with hydration, nutrition and, when necessary, antibiotics.
The reason for the standings is unknown but it is thought that it could be due to insufficient food source for the sea lions.
The goal of SeaWorld’s rescue program is rescue, rehabilitate and return animals to the wild. Animals are first stabilised and provided nourishment and veterinary care until they are strong, healthy and able to forage for themselves. Each animal is treated for the appropriate length of time and care according to its needs.