A sickened sea lion pup found curled up in a booth at The Marine Room restaurant in Southern California should make a full recovery, SeaWorld animal care specialists said Wednesday.
The pup nicknamed “Marina” was rescued in La Jolla by SeaWorld workers last week and was malnourished, dehydrated and suffering from an eye injury. She now is in a “stable but guarded” condition, specialists say.
In her time at the park, Marina gained four pounds, now weighing in at 24 pounds, and is slowly undergoing a rehydration process.
Animal care specialists say they are “cautiously optimistic” for her recovery.
“Bloodwork results are encouraging, showing some inflammation, but nothing too worrisome, and no other signs of infection or illness,” a SeaWorld news release said.
Once she is healthy enough, she will be returned to the wild, care staff say.
Somehow, the pup got into the dining hotspot and made his way into a booth with a scenic view of the beach below. Management wasn’t sure how the sea lion snuck in, but it appears he spent the night inside the restaurant.
When the pup was found, Marine Room executive chef took some photos of the whiskered patron that were liked and shared on Facebook thousands of times.
SeaWorld San Diego has been handling many unusual sea lion rescues lately in part due to recent El Niño weather conditions.
“Southern California, and specifically San Diego County, has been having very high tides and very low tides, and also a lot of stormy weather. These pups are looking for high ground and warm areas for the night,” Jody Westberg, a SeaWorld Rescue Team member, said.