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Marine group sees uptick in stranded sea lions

SAUSALITO, Calif. (AP) -- A marine mammal rescue group says it is seeing a record number of stranded sea lions and seals along the Northern and Central California coast.

The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito says as of Monday, it has brought in 446 California sea lions, elephant seals, harbor seals and fur seals this year. That's up from 302 animals admitted over the same period last year and the previous record of 418 animals in 1998.

The animals, many of them emaciated and dehydrated pups, include a sea lion pup spotted in March hopping through an almond orchard a mile from the San Joaquin River in Central California. The sea lion, nicknamed “Hoppie,” was taken to the Marine Mammal Center's Sausalito headquarters for treatment.

Officials say an algae bloom appears to blame for some of the breaches.

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