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Marine Mammal Center rescues 11,000th California sea lion

Published On: May 07 2014 12:02:04 PM CDT

Courtesy of Marine Mammal Center

MONTEREY, Calif. -

The Marine Mammal Center rescued its 11,000th California sea lion late last month, the organization announced.

In honor of the organization's 39 years of work, staff have named the animal Epic.

Epic was found malnourished and emaciated near Breakwater Cove in Monterey Harbor. A rescue team from the organization was in the area checking on a different animal when they came across Epic.

Epic was so thin its ribcage was clearly visible under its skin, and weighed just 36 pounds when it was taken to the center on April 27. The two-year-old sea lion should have weighed almost twice that.

At the center, Epic is being fed herring multiple times a day and being given a special vitamin supplement. Center staff say they're hopeful the animal will  fully recover and be able to return to the wild once again.

The center says they've seen an unusually high number of starving young sea lions this season, and we are reaching peak elephant seal and harbor seal pup season. For more information on the center and how you can help them fund their efforts, visit their website.