A young, emaciated sea lion was rescued in San Francisco after crossing a road in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Officials said Thursday morning that the undernourished animal was spotted by a couple who pulled over to try to protect it on the roadside. A park ranger then spotted the three and blocked traffic with his vehicle, they said.
The animal bit at blankets used to coax him into a plastic carrier, but he was safely loaded and taken to the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, officials said. There, he joined a record number of sea lions that had been rescued in recent weeks.
“One hundred and two California sea lions in the last 10 days,” a spokeswoman for the center said earlier this week.
The influx is unprecedented.
In 2014, the center did not see 100 California sea lions until April 2. But as of this week, the center had responded to aid requests for at least 171 of the animals, most of them pups.
January was a record month, with 69 sea lions treated. A year ago, the center treated five California sea lions in January.
Southern California marine mammal centers also are seeing record numbers of sea lions.
“It’s shaping up to be a very, very bad year as far as rehabilitation,” David Bard, operations director at the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro, told the Los Angeles Times in a recent interview.
There were 75 animals at the San Pedro center near the end of January — double the number from January 2014, Bard said.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: LA Times, Amy Hubbard