On average SeaWorld rescues 150 malnourished sea lions a year, but SeaWorld has rescued 130 since Jan. 1 this year.
"There's something going on out in the ocean," she said. "Their food source has moved."
Historically SeaWorld gets a fair share of the hungry pups from Imperial Beach, but the pup rescued Wednesday is the first of the year this far south, Westberg said.
Carlsbad is "the hot spot" this year, said Senior Animal Care Specialist Jody Westberg, accounting for roughly 30 percent of all rescues this year.
"We're rescuing a lot of malnourished, underweight sea lion pups this year," added Westberg.
People who spot injured or stranded animals are encouraged to report the sighting to a lifeguard or call SeaWorld Animal Rescue at 800-541-SEAL.
Have you seen sea lions in Carlsbad lately? Tell us in comments.