OCEANSIDE - Since the beginning of the year, nearly 700 sea lion pups have been found stranded on rocks and beaches up and down the entire southern California coast.
In Oceanside rescuers are finding three to four a day. On Thursday one was found inside a home. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is calling it an "unusual mortality event”.
“I’m pretty sad about it you know, I mean for them to by on their own like that, they're going to have to find some place for them to be and have to take care of them," said Oceanside resident John Totaro
One sea lion pup spent the day in this dog cage rather than in the ocean. Police said the pup waddled across the beach, up the road and to a home at about 7 a.m. Thursday. David Cunniff, an officer with Oceanside Police, went up to it with a cage.
"We didn't even touch him, he just kind of said ok, I guess this is where I'm supposed to go and he walked right into the cage," said Cunniff.
He said it has been a busy year in capturing the stranded pups and has advice for anyone who sees one in need of help.
“They will bite, as cute as they look, so you want to stay away and then just notify lifeguards," he said. "They're great because they're usually right there on the beach."
Sea World is helping rescue the pups.
Sea World tells 10News workers have rescued 243 sea lions since January 2013 and more than 100 are being treated right now. More rescues were made this year compared to 2011 and 2012 combined.
10News covered the story of one sea lion pup that took a break from the beach and ended up on a chair at a La Jolla hotel Tuesday.
It looked like it was lounging around like any other hotel guest when Sea World rescue crews scooped it up.
Lifeguards told 10News food is scarce, so the pups often wander off hungry. But, they're too young to be away from their moms. Without the help of people, they simply would not survive.