The Marine Room is a fancy restaurant in La Jolla, San Diego with a beautiful ocean view. We're talking FOUR dollar signs on Yelp, people! That's why it was such a surprise when, on February 4th, 2016, this cute baby sea lion wandered into the restaurant. But there's more to the story than meets the eye...
The little pup was cute, but was also sick and very hungry. The folks over at SeaWorld were called over to pick up the sea lion. CNN reports, "It may have made its way in overnight through an unlocked door. SeaWorld said the cutie likely sought food and shelter from a higher than normal tide."
The little pup only weighed 20 pounds, when she should've been weighing between 40-50 pounds. SeaWorld certainly has had more than it's share of controversies, but they told CNNthat they're "cautiously optimistic" that the pup will "recover and be returned to the wild."
Unfortunately, The Marine Room's new friend isn't the only case of baby sea lions showing up in unexpected places on land. Last year, the federal government reported a "record number of sea lion pups stranded in California" (CNN).
The reason for all these stranded sea lion pups? Climate change.
CNN reports, "An official said warmer weather than usual drove food sources farther out or deeper into the ocean, where the colder water is. When food is farther away, the mothers are way from the pup too long in search of food, and return with little food or too few nutrients for a growing sea lion."
According to the LA Times, "More than 2,000 sickly sea pups were left stranded on California beaches in the first three months of ." The year before, only 231 were stranded during the exact same time period. Rehabilitation centers have been doing their best to save the little guys.
The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California is one of many rehab centers that are trying to save these little ones. To differentiate between the pups, their heads are dabbed with non-permanent colors.
Matt Wallat, a National Park Ranger, helped rescue this sea lion pup that he named "Percevero" (LA Times). Most of these pups are 7 months old. However, a sea lion pup depends on its mother until its around 11 months old, when they can start feeding on their own.