SAN DIEGO — A starving sea lion has been rescued after finding its way into the booth of a fancy San Diego restaurant.
Experts at SeaWorld were called Thursday morning to The Marine Room, an oceanfront restaurant in La Jolla.
Rescuers found an 8-month-old female pup asleep in a dining booth. The pup was severely underweight and dehydrated.
The pup was taken to SeaWorld's Animal Rescue Center, and experts are cautiously optimistic about her recovery.
Mary Kate Foster, left, and Jody Westberg of SeaWorld’s Rescue Team carry an 8-month-old female sea lion pup after it was found sleeping Thursday in a booth of the Marine Room, an upscale restaurant in San Diego, California. Photo: Mike Aguilera / SeaWorld
There's been a surge in sea lion mortality over the past year, with marine biologists collecting thousands of sick, starving, stranded or dead pups. So far this year, SeaWorld has rescued 47 sea lions and other marine mammals.
Scientists say the animals' food supply has been affected by higher-than-normal ocean temperatures linked to El Nino.
Story: Associated Press