SeaWorld San Diego Return Four Rescued Sea Lions to Their Ocean Home

09 Jun 2016

After two to three months of rehabilitation at SeaWorld San Diego’s Animal Rescue Centre, four sea lions rescued by SeaWorld this year from San Diego County beaches were returned to their ocean home yesterday. The animals were successfully rehabilitated by animal care specialists and veterinarians from SeaWorld’s Rescue Team after being found malnourished and dehydrated on local beaches earlier this year.

SeaWorld is continuing to see a higher-than-normal number of strandings on local beaches. Because the younger animals are finding it difficult to find food, they become emaciated. Their hydration comes from the fish they eat, so when they are malnourished, they also become dehydrated.

While SeaWorld is rescuing several different marine mammal species, the most common is the California sea lion. The sea lion pups, approximately nine months old, are found emaciated, malnourished, dehydrated and extremely lethargic. Some are also suffering from hypothermia, hypoglycemia, pneumonia and other illnesses that vulnerable animals can be susceptible to when their immune systems become compromised. SeaWorld’s animal care specialists and veterinarians are treating the animals with hydration, nutrition and, when necessary, antibiotics. The average length of time for rehabilitative care is six to eight weeks. Once they are of good weight, free from any secondary infections and able to competitively forage for food, the animals are returned to the ocean in areas where there is a known source of prey, giving them a second chance at life.

So far in 2106, SeaWorld San Diego has rescued more than 400 marine mammals, compared to 150 to 200 rescues made in a normal year. The goal of SeaWorld’s Rescue Program has always been to rehabilitate rescued animals and return them to the wild.

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