Our animal care team’s duties revolve around the three R’s: Rescue, Rehabilitate and Return. Recently the three R’s were in action at SeaWorld San Diego.
In mid-October, SeaWorld rescued a sub-adult male California sea lion on a San Diego beach. The following day, the team rescued an adult female harbor seal on another nearby beach. Both animals had fishing line around their neck that had cut quite deeply into their flesh. It took SeaWorld’s rescue team a while to rescue the harbor seal, as she was quite strong and of good size.
At the park, a SeaWorld veterinarian and animal care specialists cut the fishing line free from the animals’ necks and began a round of precautionary antibiotics. After a little more than two weeks of rehabilitation, the wounds have healed and both animals are energetic, foraging for food on their own and ready for a second chance at life.
Last week both animals were returned to the ocean. Our animal rescue team took them to a kelp bed area with a large food supply and other harbor seals to help ensure their success. Any return is always full of mixed emotions for our animal care team because you are sad to see them go, but so happy that you were able to help them.
Here is Steve Dunning, Senior Animal Care Specialist, with a video overview of their return. Seeing the wounds around the animal’s necks is a good reminder to us all to keep our trash out of the oceans because you never know what animals it may affect.
For more than 40 years, the goal of SeaWorld’s Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Program has been to rescue ill and injured animals, treat and nurse them to health, and eventually return them back to the wild. Nearly 70 percent of marine animals rescued and brought to SeaWorld for care have been given a second chance at life. So far in 2011, SeaWorld San Diego has rescued 60 marine mammals.