Rescued Seal Returned To Ocean With Transmitter Will Aid Crucial Scientific Research

21 Jan 2015

After a month of critical veterinary treatment by SeaWorld San Diego’s Animal Rescue Team, a female Guadalupe fur seal has been returned to the ocean with a transmitter device to help scientists gain important data about the threatened species.

SeaWorld animal rescuers came to the aid of the seal which was found underweight and with lacerations on her right side, in need of urgent medical care. arrival at SeaWorld’s Animal Rescue Center, the adult weighed in at 36 kilograms. SeaWorld animal caretakers and medical teams treated the seal with fluids, antibiotics and supportive care, which included a nutrient-rich diet of capelin, sardines and herring. The seal, whose weight has increased nearly 9 kilograms whilst in the care of the animal rescue team, was returned to the ocean at a healthy 44 kilograms, able to forage for food on its own.

The seal is outfitted with a satellite transmitter so scientists can gain crucial data about where Guadalupe fur seals travel, spend time foraging for food, and ultimately thrive in the ocean. The transmitter will likely dislodge from the seal when she molts within the next six months.

Since its recovery from the brink of extinction in the early 1900s, the population, thanks to conservation efforts, has swelled to approximately 10,000. The Guadalupe fur seal is the least studied fur seal species due to their limited geographic locations — south from the Guadalupe Island, Mexico to Southern California at San Miguel Island.

In 2014, SeaWorld’s Rescue Team cared for more than 250 ill, injured and stranded marine mammals, including sea lions, seals, whales and dolphins. The park also rescued and cared for 275 birds, one turtle and one shark. The park’s goal is to return rescued, nursed to health animals to the wild for a second lease on life. Nearly 70 percent of the animals rescued by the park are returned to the wild.

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