Two sea lions rescued twice after being stranded on California beaches will be cared for at the Kansas City Zoo.
The sea lions, both female and both thought to be about 1 year old, are in quarantine at the zoo. They will be introduced to the zoo’s four resident sea lions next month, and if all goes well, they will go on public display by the end of September.
Two of the zoo’s other sea lions also were rescued and brought to the zoo in 2010.
The new sea lions were found stranded on beaches, then rehabilitated and released back to the sea.
“Unfortunately both of them were restranded and were not able to be released,” the zoo said in a statement announcing the arrivals. “Hearing the need, the Kansas City Zoo offered to help raise these two female sea lions in Kansas City.”
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration reports there have been more than 10 times the average number of sea lions stranded in southern and central California in 2015. As of May, there had been 3,340 recorded.
The decreasing availability of prey is believed to be one factor. Rising ocean temperatures are affecting squid, sardines and other animals.
The zoo has named the new arrivals Pepper and Luna.