LOS ANGELES—Animal rescue volunteers are struggling to care for more than 50 sea lions stranded on Southern California beaches.

The sea lion surge at the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro is believed to be caused by more pups leaving their mothers earlier than usual.

Without refined hunting skills, they are showing up on beaches emaciated and confused.

The Daily Breeze of Torrance ( http://bit.ly/11BKf5O) says a record 43 sea lions arrived at the center last month and the arrivals are continuing in February.

A dozen more arrived on Saturday.

During the past 20 years, the facility has averaged 12 stranded sea lions in January.

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Information from: Daily Breeze, http://www.dailybreeze.com