CARLSBAD, Calif. (CNN/KGTV) - A California homeowner finds a sea lion snoozing in her garden.
Turns out he's just one of many wayward pups turning up in the San Diego area.
"He doesn't look very fat," said homeowner Barbara Mullen. "I think he's a little skinny, so he's probably left the nest too soon."
Mullen has seen sea lions on the beach in front of her Carlsbad home before, but never this far up into her yard.
The pup looked around and snoozed off-and-on all morning – a little out of place in the garden next to her patio.
It was Mullen's poodle who first spotted the sea lion.
"And my dog started barking, and she was going really bananas," said Mullen.
Mullen kept the dog away and called SeaWorld, just one of four rescues of sea lions for the crew.
Nearly 250 young sea lions have been rescued so far this year along the San Diego County shoreline. That's three- to four times more than usual, and the weaning season is only just beginning.
"Unfortunately, we can't tell you what's going on right now," said Robert Lovato, a SeaWorld animal care specialist. "National Marine Fisheries is just kind of trying to determine that right now."
A call to the National Marine Fisheries revealed that marine biologists are stumped, but they're looking into what's causing what they call an "unusual mortality event."
It's an event that may be caused by a lack of food, such as squid and sardines. It's something one sea lion expert said is causing "great concern."
SeaWorld has 280 pups now in its care.
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