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SeaWorld Temporarily Stops Sea Lion, Otter Show To Tend To Stranded Animals

A sea lion pup lies on Mission Beach where it became stranded next to a dead adult sea lion, Feb. 28, 2015.
10News
A sea lion pup lies on Mission Beach where it became stranded next to a dead adult sea lion, Feb. 28, 2015.

SeaWorld San Diego announced Friday that it will suspend its sea lion and otter show for at least the next two weeks while the theme park deals with an unprecedented number of marine mammal rescues.

SeaWorld teams have rescued more than 400 sea lions this year, double the usual total for a normal year, said Dave Koontz, a spokesman for the theme park. Just over two weeks ago, he reported 230 rescues.

Federal authorities said last month that more than 940 sea lion pups had been rescued along California's coast this year.

Koontz said a half-dozen experts with "tremendous experience" in working with sea lions will join rescue teams, while a group of other trainers will stay behind to work with sea lions and otters at the park.

SeaWorld San Diego is building two temporary tanks for the sea lions, he said.

"While the temporary closure of the sea lion and otter show may be a minor inconvenience to guests, we feel that it is important to ensure we provide the highest level of care necessary to give these stranded sea lions a second chance at life," Koontz said. "We thank everyone for their patience and understanding."

Most of the rescued sea lions have been malnourished. Anyone who comes across a stranded or ill sea lion is asked to contact a lifeguard or call SeaWorld's Rescue Hotline at (800) 541-7325. Koontz said people should not touch or feed the sea lions.

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