Premature baby sea lion dies at SeaWorld San Diego

FILE - In this April 27, 2017, file photo provided by SeaWorld San Diego, a day-old California sea lion pup rests at the Animal Care Center in San Diego, Calif. The baby seal lion born prematurely to a sick mother at SeaWorld San Diego has died. The park says the 10-pound pup named Little Gem died Friday, April 28, only two days after she was discovered in the pen where her mother was being treated. (Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld San Diego via AP, File)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A baby seal lion born prematurely to a sick mother at SeaWorld San Diego has died.

The park says the 10-pound pup named Little Gem died Friday, two days after she was discovered in the pen where her mother was being treated.

SeaWorld says the female pup had appeared to be healthy but long-term survival “was always questionable.” A necropsy will determine the cause of death.

The mother was rescued from a beach in the city of Oceanside on April 25. The mother was too sick to care for the pup, who was nursed with a special milk formula.

The park says the mother may have eaten shellfish or fish poisoned by domoic acid, a naturally occurring toxin from algae.

SeaWorld says the mother is recovering.

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