Photo story: California sea lion pups stage healthy comeback
For the past 3 years, California sea lion pups appeared on Southern California beaches skinny and malnourished. A record-breaking 4,000 pups stranded in 2015, leaving skilled rescuers scrambling to care for them all. Experts believe sea lion prey, especially small fish such as sardines and anchovy, were not available in great enough numbers to nursing mothers, making it difficult for mother sea lions to find food and produce the milk necessary to feed growing pups that year.
This year could be different. In a preliminary expedition to the islands where some California sea lion pups are born, NOAA experts and our scientific partners found encouraging data to suggest pups were off to a good start in 2016.
2015: Sea lion pups in peril
2016: Look at them now
So: How exactly do you weigh a young sea lion?
Not out of the woods: Scientists are cautiously optimistic
What’s ahead? Keep an eye on the colonies and ocean conditions