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I was going to kick off summer with a light-hearted Sun, Surf, and Seals post that included a mention about the Leave Seals Be rescue campaign — sponsored by the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California.

That is, until I heard about the crisis facing sea lion pups in California.

Hundreds of Starving Sea Lion Pups

More than a 1,000 stranded sea lion pups have washed ashore on California beaches since January, under nourished and basically starving to death. And the number keeps rising. This is more than six times the usual number of stranded pups. So far the cause appears to be a complete lack of their natural food source: bait fish, such as anchovies and herring. [Image from the Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito]


Southern California beaches have received the majority of the stranded pups. The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito stepped up, and is taking care of a good number of the starving pups to alleviate overcrowding in the Southern California rescue facilities.

While the cause of the problem is thought to be lack of the natural food source for these marine mammals, The Marine Mammal Center is looking into other possible causes. Their research includes screening for toxins and other elements.

Why all the fuss over a bunch malnourished baby sea lions? This degree of crisis could be a warning sign for a much bigger problem that would impact the human population. Determining the cause, is the first step in finding a preventative solution.

In the following news clip, Dr. Shawn Johnson, Director of Veterinary Science at the Marine Mammal Center, explains this distressing phenomena and his approach to solving it.

Discovery Channel: Rescuing Baby Sea Lions


It’s been a few years since I volunteered at the Marine Mammal Center (in animal care), but I’m still a strong supporter. I know first-hand how dedicated these people are, and all the good they accomplish.

For these undernourished sea lion pups to have a chance at surviving in the wild, they need to eat a lot of fish, starting with the essential Fish Smoothie and working up to buckets of whole fish. The hungry patients are going through approximately 4,000 lbs of fish per week (at $1.00 per pound) – double the usual amount due to double the number of residents in their care.

To help the Marine Mammal Center continue their research and care for the stranded sea lion pups, you can go here to donate.

Twitter Challenge: #fish4pups

You can also help the sea lion pups by participating in my #fish4pups Twitter Challenge:

  1. Tweet the link to this blog post and include the hashtag: #fish4pups
  2. Tweet as often as you like between now and midnight on the 4th of July.
  3. For every #fish4pups blog-link tweet, I will donate $1.00 to the Marine Mammal Center food drive.

$1.00 = 1 pound of fish for starving sea lion pups!

Tweet it up!

The sea lion pups thank you!