Starving sea lions in California leave rescue centers struggling to copeThe starving Sea Lions washing ashore in California is only getting worse as new reports are indicating that Rescue centers are struggling to cope with a mystery surge in the numbers of starving sea lion pups which have washed up on Californian shores since January. More than 1,100 starving and sick pups have been rescued from California’s beaches, as well as public bathrooms, behind buildings and along railroad tracks since the beginning of the year. The number is almost five times higher than the 250 pups which would usually be expected in the key monitoring period between January and April – and no one knows why.  It’s not unusual to have some sea lions wash up each spring as the pups leave their mothers, but Keith A. Matassa, executive director at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, said they started getting calls in December. His center, in Laguna Beach, is currently rehabilitating 115 sea lion pups. On a recent day, over the course of two hours, five suffering animals came in. One was brought in by a police officer, three more came in with an animal control team and the fifth was called in by a couple walking along beach.  The last pup, at almost a year old, weighed just 23 pounds – a third of what it should have. It was so ill, staff had no choice but to put it down. Matassa explained pups that should be gaining 20 to 40 pounds in a two-month period have put on just two pounds. ‘These animals are coming in really desperate. They’re at the end of life. They’re in a crisis … and not all animals are going to make it,’ he said. FULL REPORT