California sea lion pups are cared for round the clock by SeaWorld animal care specialists as part of the park’s Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Program. Photo credit: Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego announced Monday that it will provide $5,000 each to five organizations in California that rescue marine mammals, amid a record-breaking year for rescues of sea lions along the coast.

The donations will go to the Marine Mammal Care Center of San Pedro, Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, California Wildlife Center in Malibu, Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife in Santa Barbara and the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito.

Park officials said more than 500 rescued marine mammals have been brought to SeaWorld so far this year, well above the record for a full year set in 1983. More than 480 of those rescued were sea lions.

Statewide, the count has topped 1,600.

SeaWorld announced it will also donate $5,000 to Moorpark College in Ventura County. Students in the school’s Exotic Animal Training and Management Program are helping SeaWorld care for the animals, which usually arrive at the park in a malnourished condition.

Staff from other SeaWorld Entertainment facilities have come to San Diego to help care for the animals.

The park has also suspended its sea lion, otter and beluga whale shows so local staff can assist.

— City News Service

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