Sea Lion Pupdate: Strandings May Be Ebbing

Posted: April 18, 2013  |  By: Nadia Drake [Wired]

Weighing just over 20 pounds, a tiny sea lion washed ashore in Los Angeles County on January 25. The male pup, like so many born last June, was seriously underweight. Normally, pups that age weigh twice as much. Rescuers retrieved the bony pup from the beach and brought him to a local rehabilitation center. After two months at the Marine Mammal Care Center in Fort McArthur, the little sea lion had gained more than 30 pounds — the result of diligent care and a nutritious, fishy diet.

On March 25, he was returned to the sea.

But on April 2, the pup again washed ashore, skinny, hungry, and tired. This time, he stranded on Manresa Beach in Santa Cruz County, more than 300 miles north of Los Angeles. Identifiable by an orange flipper tag, the pup weighed just 28 pounds — he’d lost nearly half his body weight.

“And he had pneumonia and was missing a small bit of his right flipper,” said Jim Oswald, public relations manager at The Marine Mammal Center. ”We brought him to our Monterey triage site that day, and then to our main hospital in Sausalito,” Oswald said. There, he was named Dollar.

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