No Joke: A Hungry Sea Lion Walks into a Restaurant

An emaciated sea lion pup found its way into a fancy restaurant in San Diego.

A baby sea lion has apparently taken the name of an upscale San Diego restaurant a little too literally. On Thursday morning, employees of The Marine Room found the pup curled up in one of its best booths. How she got in there isn’t clear, but it’s a good thing she attracted the attention of the kindly staff. A rescue team called in from SeaWorld found that the eight-month-old was severely malnourished, weighing in at just 20 pounds—about half the healthy weight for her age.

This little lady is just the latest (and arguably cutest) example of the recent surge of sea lion strandings in California, where emaciated pups have been washing up in droves. In the first five months of 2015, the state saw 3,340 strandings—more than 10 times the average number for that period. Experts say warmer waters in the Pacific, a result of climate change and El Niño, could be to blame for the hungry masses.

On Friday, SeaWorld was rehydrating the pup and letting her rest in the company of other young pinnipeds. Let’s hope she gets fattened up with many more square meals before heading back out into to the real marine room.

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This post first appeared at OnEarth.

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