Hundreds Of Starving Sea Lion Pups Get A Helping Hand as presented by: Treehugger

This spring, southern California has seen a massive number of sea lion pup strandings. Over 1,300 baby sea lions, born last summer, have stranded themselves and are being found up and down the coastline emaciated, dehydrated and enduring hypothermia. Scientists are looking for clues to understand why the sea lion youngsters seem to have been cut off from their food supply, leading to what NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service has deemed an "unusual mortality event." Meanwhile, conservation photographer Morgan Heim travelled to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center to document the phenomenal effort workers and volunteers are putting into rescuing and caring for these youngsters so they can be released back into the wild. Here is their story in photos. "Wrap him up like a burrito," a Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) worker tells volunteer Priscilla Salazar (left) over the phone. "We've brought them back from worse before." Photographer Morgan Heim followed activities of volunteers as they collected stranded sea lion pups around southern California locations. She writes, "In the parking lot of a strip mall featuring a tanning salon, chiropractor and bike shop, volunteers Salazar and Taylor Megginson wrap a hypothermic sea lion pup in an emergency blanket. The pup is barely hanging on to life after a surfer found the pup shivering and stranded on a beach in Southern California."

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