Scientists At Sea

09 Jul 2015

After several months of critical veterinary treatment at SeaWorld San Diego, five rescued Guadalupe fur seals are back in the ocean with a second chance at life.

Two of the marine mammals returned to the wild were outfitted with satellite transmitters by scientists from Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, who hope to gain crucial data about where the threatened species travel, spend time foraging for food, and ultimately thrive in the ocean. Since its recovery from the brink of extinction in the early 1900s, the Guadalupe fur seal population has swelled to approximately 10,000. The Guadalupe fur seal is the least studied fur seal species due to its limited geographic range.

All of the seals were rescued by SeaWorld after being found ill and emaciated on beaches in the local area. Upon arrival at SeaWorld’s Animal Rescue Center, caretakers and medical teams treated the seals with fluids, antibiotics and supportive care, which included a nutrient-rich diet of capelin, sardines and herring. As with all of the animals rescued by SeaWorld, they must be of good weight, free of any infection or illness and demonstrate the ability to forage on their own before they are returned to the ocean.

In just the first six months of this year, SeaWorld San Diego has rescued more than 1,000 marine mammals (shattering the park’s record of 474 animals in an entire year in 1983). While the vast majority of these animals are California sea lions, SeaWorld has also rescued several species of seals, including harbor seals, elephant seals and fur seals.

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