Picture a young sea lion — let's call him Joey — taking an afternoon swim along the coast of Alaska and coming upon a long, shiny plastic loop.

Of course, Joey doesn't know the loop is plastic. All he knows is that he's never seen something like this wriggling through the water before, and he'd love to play with it.  

"Sea lions are curious and playful creatures by nature," explains Sue Goodglick, a wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game program that studies and tracks Steller sea lions like Joey. So, she says, when they come across plastic objects like this, they usually like to play with it.

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One of the things that seems it might be on the new administration's chopping block is the Endangered Species Act. Yep, really.

The Endangered Species Act is a federal law that protects over 1,600 vulnerable animal and plant species. To enforce these protections, the law restricts logging, drilling, and other forms of land use.

These restrictions have made the Endangered Species Act a popular target for deregulation pushes. Between January 2015 and January 2017, Congress put forth 135 different bills that would have weakened it, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. The latest push seemed to come during a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 15, during which Republican senators put forth ideas to — as they put it — modernize the act.

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Sea lions usually live in the ocean. So why are so many showing up on land?

Whether it's caused by El Niño or climate change, things aren't looking so great for some of our favorite marine mammals.

A week ago, a seal lion pup wandered into a fancy California restaurant.

It was an adorable story of a wayward pup at The Marine Room in La Jolla, California.

But it turns out the pup, nicknamed Marina, wasn't looking for hot brunch spot; she was looking for help.

When sea lions can't find food, they're forced to make their way to the shore to prevent from drowning. Sadly, on shore, there's not exactly a huge supply of food awaiting them, either.

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