Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld San Diego animal care specialists return two California sea lions to the ocean on Wednesday, May 16, 2012. The yearlings were among eight sea lions reintroduced to the sea as part of the park's Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Program.
SeaWorld San Diego’s animal rescue team returned eight California sea lions to the wild Wednesday just off the coast of San Diego.
The eight sea lions – four females and four males – were rescued and nursed back to health by SeaWorld San Diego’s animal care team over the past few months.
According to representatives from SeaWorld, most of the mammals arrived at the park malnourished and dehydrated. Some had additional injuries as well.
One of the sea lions was rescued off Mission Bay with a stingray barb in her right eye on March 20. SeaWorld veterinarians were able to remove the barb and treat the sea lion.
Another female sea lion was found with abrasions on both flippers and her chin.
Some of the other malnourished sea lions in this bunch were rescued by SeaWorld in areas including Oceanside Pier, Imperial Beach, Oceanside Strand and Windandsea Beach.
When they were returned to the wild Wednesday, each of the yearlings weighed between 25 and 65-pounds, according to SeaWorld San Diego representatives.
SeaWorld animal care specialists treated the animals with hydration fluids and a nutrient-rich diet of capelin, sardines, herring, mackerel and squid so they could be healthy and strong when they returned to their natural habitat.
So far this year, SeaWorld’s Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Program has saved 88 marine mammals.