Thursday, March 22, 2012
Marine mammal rescuers at SeaWorld San Diego have been busy lately, rescuing nearly a dozen sea lions in the past week and a half.
SAN DIEGO A pair of troubled sea lions plucked off a La Jolla beach are the most recent sea mammals to require a rescue. The pair was listless and appeared to be malnourished when crews picked them off the beach. It is typical for sea lion rescue activity to climb in the spring.
"This is the time of year when we start to see more pups that have weaned from their mothers," said David Koontz, SeaWorld communications director. "They may not have quite figured out how to survive on their own. So, we do see a fair number of pup rescues. But we've rescued a fair number of adult sea lions as well."
Twenty sea lions have already been helped. SeaWorld crews usually rescue 120-200 sea mammals in a calendar year. All the animals taken in by SeaWorld will be released back into the wild, as long as they recover.
"Once they get a bill of clean health from the veterinarians and can demonstrate to us that they're able to forage for fish on their own, we take them back out, several miles off the coast, in regions of our coastal waters where there is a good population of sea lions and return them to the wild," said Koontz.
The park works with the National Marine Fisheries Service to rehabilitate injured or sick marine mammals.