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A sea lion pup receives a fish milkshake at the California Wildlife Center in Malibu. Suzanne Guldimann/22nd Century Media
California Wildlife center volunteer Leslie Lentz (left to right), assistant marine mammal coordinator Jonsie Ross and marine mammal rehabilitation manager Michael Remski examine, weigh and measure a new arrival.
Three sea lion pups exhibit signs of successful recovery at the California Wildlife Center in Malibu.
California Wildlife Center assistant marine mammal coordinator Jonsie Ross and volunteer Leslie Lentz carry a rescued sea lion to the marine mammal facility.
Suzanne Guldimann, Freelance Reporter
2:31 pm PST March 3, 2015

The official start of spring is still three weeks away, but all along the California coast record numbers of sick, malnourished and dying sea lion pups are washing ashore, and rescue facilities are already overwhelmed. 

The Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro, the largest local center for marine mammal rehabilitation, is reporting five times as many sea lion pups as usual and more than twice as many for the same time period in 2013, when the number of sea lion deaths was officially declared an unusual mortality event.