Sea Lion Rescue 911
It’s been a rough year for sea lions in California, with “a perfect storm” of factors contributing to a record number of stranded animals in 2014. Add one more.
An emaciated sea lion pup — its flippers and face pierced by several fishhooks — was netted and rescued off the rocks of our Great Tide Pool on May 1 by staff and volunteers with the Marine Mammal Center.
If all goes well, the pup (named “Friday”) could be back in the wild in the next month or so. In the meantime, it’s getting a veterinary exam, having the hooks removed and getting prepped for tube feeding and a steady diet so it can put on some weight.
The sea lion weighs only about 35 pounds and put up little resistance when rescuers clambered onto the rocks to capture it.
It’s one of about five to 10 animals being cared for on any given day at the Marine Mammal Center’s satellite Moss Landing facility, about a half-hour north of the Aquarium. Another 82 animals are being rehabilitated at the center’s headquarters in Sausalito.
The rise in strandings is attributed in part to a harmful algae bloom in Monterey Bay. Domoic acid produced by the algae moves up the food web and concentrates in the tissues of the fish that sea lions eat.
Thanks to Aquarium staff member Jessica Little for the rescue photos.
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