In a typical year, SeaWorld rescue workers will usually take in about 35 stranded sea lions and seals at this point in the year. This year, that number is more than 400. They are often pups, showing up dehydrated and searching for food. The concern is that something may be wrong with their food source, but SeaWorld workers do not yet know what.
“It is anticipated that this move will provide an additional six animal specialists daily to assist with our ongoing rescue and rehabilitation efforts. A small number of trainers will remain at sea lion stadium to continue to care for the sea lions and otters living there,” according to SeaWorld’s statement.
The park is also in the process of constructing two temporary pools for the rescued sea lions. While this rescue season is shaping up to be dramatic in terms of numbers, SeaWorld San Diego has rescued more than 15,000 animals over the park’s 50-year history.