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California homeowner finds a sea lion snoozing in her garden

Staff writers
April 2, 2013 — Drowsy sea lion pup is one of hundreds that have had to be rescued, a number that has scientists worried.

The young seal was found basking in the sun in the garden.
The young seal was found basking in the sun in the garden.

California resident Barbara Mullen is used to seeing sea lions near her beachside property in the town of Carlsbad -- just not right in her garden.

Her pet poodle spotted the sea lion pup dozing near her patio. She made a call, and SeaWorld animal rescuers showed up with a net to take the protesting pup to safety.

Around 250 young or juvenile sea lions have had to be rescued so far this year along the shore of San Diego County.

One even gate-crashed a five-star hotel, where it lounged in a chair before being taken away.

But sea lion experts are worried. The amount of sea lion rescues is three-to-four times higher than normal so far this year, and the weaning season is only just beginning.

Experts at the United States National Marine Fisheries Service are calling it an "unusual mortality event," which may be caused by a lack of typical sea lion food sources like squid or sardines.

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