January was traditionally a slow period for sea lions at the San Pedro care center. But nearly 50 sea lions had come in, more than twice than the year before. In February, 105 were admitted. The next month, nearly 240.
It was the same in care centers from San Diego to Santa Barbara, all inundated with the months-old emaciated pups that had washed up on shore.
Officials called it an “unusual mortality event” and its cause remains a mystery.
But in recent weeks, the tide has shifted: The doctors, volunteers, and donations had kept San Pedro afloat and now they were releasing more healthy pups, hauling them in crates to the beach so they can start their lives again.
(READ the story, w/ photos, in the LA Times)