Wildlife Workers Stress Patience on Sea Lion Rescues

Sea lion pup rescued on Jan. 9

Less than two months into the new year, the California Wildlife Center is experiencing an astonishing amount of calls to rescue emaciated sea lions.

At this point last year, the CWC had rescued six sea lion pups. However, as of last Friday, the CWC had rescued 68 sea lion pups along the Malibu coast.

Because of the massive influx, CWC Director Victoria Harris is asking the public to be patient with response times.

“We’re getting up to 75 calls a day,” Harris said Friday, “a lot of them for the same sea lions.”

Harris said some callers have expressed frustration when sea lion pups are not picked up right away, but the CWC only has so much time and resources in responding to each call.

“[Malibu] is a lot of coastline,” she said. 

She also provided advice to those who spot a stranded or emaciated sea lion.

“Don’t pour water on them, stay at least 50 feet away. Don’t try and chase them back into the water,” she said. 

Harris and her staff remain uncertain as to the reason why so many rescues are happening in 2015.

“Clearly one part of it is food, and I leave it to the scientists to decide if it’s [because of] the current warming, and whether the fish are going out further and the mother [sea lion] is having to go out further for fish.”

Anyone who spots a stranded or emaciated sea lion is asked to call the CWC hotline: 310.458.WILD.