An 8-month old sea lion ironically wandered into, The Marine Room, an upscale seafood restaurant located in La Jolla, California.
We found This little guy in the The Marine Room restaurant this morning😍he was a little bit early for his high tide breakfast reservation❤as it is this weekend on Sunday and Monday
The Executive Chef, Bernard Guillas, came into work one morning and found the 20-pound lion curled up on one of the booths. The sea lion was visibly malnourished. Though the lion technically came to the right place for it, food wouldn’t be provided until the lion was taken by the SeaWorld San Diego Rescue Team.
It is believed the sea lion snuck in through the back door left open by the cleaning crew from the night before.
Guillas took photos of the precious lion hanging about the restaurant before it was taken away by the rescue team. He posted them to his Facebook where many ooo’ed and ahh’ed over the pup.
The rescue team determined the pup was dehydrated and weighed half of what she should at her age.
Increase of stranded baby sea lions
Between 2013 and 2016, there was a major increase in the number of sea lions stranded in California. The cause? A strong El Nino resulting in what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration called an “unusual mortality event.”
Sharon Melin, a wildlife biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shared her findings. When the water warms, it reduces the number of certain fishes in the ocean. Primarily, “bait fish” such as sardines and anchovies. Smaller fish will go further into the ocean, making it more difficult to be eaten by the larger mammals, particularly younger mammals such as baby sea lions who have just been weaned from their mothers.
As the mothers are away longer to track down the prey that have delved deep into the ocean, the pups, who have not weaned from the mother yet, are left alone and set out to search for their own food.
The result? They end up ashore malnourished and dehydrated.
Another cause is very high or low tides and stormy weather. The pups look for higher ground and warmer climates for food when these occur.
Lastly, a giant toxic algal (algae) bloom expanded in recent years poisoning much of the sea lion’s food. The Marine Mammal Center reported sea lions washing up ashore with amnesiac shellfish poisoning, caused by exposure to domoic acid, a neurotoxin produced by the algal bloom.
The effects of this toxin include lethargy, memory loss, and seizures.
Just during the first five months in 2015, more than 3,000 stranded sea lions washed were washed ashore which was nearly three times as many as 2013, according to The Marine Mammal Center.
The center typically rescues 500 to 700 stranded mammals a year along California’s coast. In 2015, the center had rescued more than 1,500 sea lions.
The numbers have since stabilized. Fortunately in more recent years, there hasn’t been a spike in marine life washing ashore like there once was.
Still, there is concern for the sea lion pups as they have been appearing ashore earlier in the year than usual.
According to Melin, sea lions live up to 30 years and throughout their lives, collect knowledge over their environment that enables them to predict the locations of their food sources.
However, with the ever-changing climate, it’s making it more difficult to adjust and find prey as they normally would.
Melin believes that there will be more large mortality events given the changing climate.
But she has not given up hope as sea lions are far from endangerment. As wildlife groups take on more volunteers, she’s maintained her optimism.
“They are going to work it out,” she says.
We sure hope so. These adorable creatures are a sight to behold.
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