Sea lion pups washing up on beaches at alarming rate

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Federal marine wildlife officials said that a mass stranding of malnourished sea lion pups along the Southern California coast since January has intensified in recent weeks and researchers remain unsure of the cause.

Sea lion pups brought to SeaWorld. (Credit: SeaWorld)

Sea lion pups brought to SeaWorld. (Credit: SeaWorld)

Officials declared an “unusual mortality event” for the California sea lion, a designation that prompts immediate federal response after a significant die-off of a marine mammal population.

The declaration comes as sea lion pups have been found stranded on Southern California beaches — from Santa Barbara to San Diego —  at rates exponentially higher than in years past.

In Los Angeles, for instance, nearly 400 pups have been stranded since the beginning of the year. Last year, just 36 were reported stranded.

As of March 24, officials said, 214 were reported stranded in San Diego County; 189 in Orange County; 108 in Santa Barbara County; and 42 in Ventura County.

The pups that survived have filled marine mammal sanctuaries along the coast, which have taken in record number of pups for this time of year.


Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.