Two orphaned California sea lions, both less than a year old, found a new home in the Florida Keys.
The two young sea lions, weighing 75 pounds, were deemed non-releasable by NOAA Fisheries. Seeking permanent homes, NOAA solicited licensed marine mammal centers.
While California stranding centers usually have 40 orphaned sea lion pups ever year between January and April, this spring was an overwhelming one for them, caring for more than 1,000 sea lion pups, many of them malnourished.
A Dolphin Plus animal specialist and veterinarian made the trip to Vallejo, California to escort them to Key Largo.
"They were in a stranding center for several months and they made an attempt to release them, but the animals were not thriving when released and were begging from people," said Art Cooper, director of operations. "We'll give these guys a good home for 25 to 30 years and they should get pretty big, maybe 500 to 600 pounds."