A pair of male fur seals rescued and nursed back to health by SeaWorld San Diego’s animal care team was returned to the ocean. Both animals were rescued in May emaciated, malnourished and dehydrated. The first of these mammals, a Guadalupe fur seal, was rescued off Imperial Beach weighing almost 15.5 pounds May 13, 2012. The other, a hybrid (mixed breed species), was rescued May 29 with a swollen rear flipper and weighing 16.5 pounds. SeaWorld veterinarians were able to treat the bulging flipper with antibiotics.
The estimated 1- and 2-year-old juveniles returned to the sea weighing 42 and 23 pounds respectively. SeaWorld animal care specialists and veterinarians treated the animals with hydration fluids and a nutrient-rich diet of capelin, sardines and herring. The seals are now healthy and able to forage for food on their own.
Research scientists from Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute outfitted each seal with a satellite transmitter. Scientists hope to track the animals’ movements at sea to learn more about where the species travels in the ocean along with perhaps why. The transmitters will likely dislodge from the fur seals when they molt in about two months. An adult male fur seal can grow to 6 feet and weigh up to 350 pounds, while females reach 4.5 feet and weigh up to 100 pounds.