A few weeks ago I flew into Los Angeles, California to start my 2015 southwestern nature photography trip, and within 20 minutes of being released into the wild I stumbled into this yearling California sea lion. I could tell instantly that something was not right. It was too bony, seemed a little lethargic and wasn’t terribly concerned about me being so close. While it looked to be in relatively OK shape and appeared to be uninjured, I decided not to call a wildlife rescue center and let nature run its course. Sometimes a pup or yearling gets abandoned (a shark gets the mother for example) or most likely in this case environmental factors are the reason. For the past several years, there have been increasing record numbers of young California sea lions dying after abandonment while the species population is generally growing. The thought is that because coastal waters have been significantly warmer in the past 2-3 years, the mother sea lions have to go further offshore into the cooler water to feed in order to return to feed their young. Dangerous for both pup and parent. Let’s hope this little pinniped makes it!
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