SeaWorld San Diego

Seals Set Free on Empty La Jolla Beaches

Usually, SeaWorld releases animals miles off the coast of San Diego, but the coronavirus shut down beaches, making for a different kind of send-off for the mammals.

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Like the rest of San Diego, three seals got to go home – and hopefully stay there.

Two sea lions and a harbor seal were set free in La Jolla Wednesday after being rehabilitated at a SeaWorld San Diego facility.

The two sea lion pups were found dehydrated and malnourished. After spending time at SeaWorld San Diego’s Animal Health and Rescue Center, the pair doubled their weight, the park said.

SeaWorld said one of the sea lions had a cataract that needed to be surgically removed.

“We’ve seen cataracts in animals in the past, and it’s a really tough challenge to get them to heal from that. And this time, because we got a jump on it early, she got to be returned back out in the ocean,” said Kevin Robinson, a senior animal care specialist at SeaWorld San Diego.

The two pups were released at Boomer’s Beach in La Jolla Wednesday.

As for the harbor seal, SeaWorld officials found it orphaned and admitted it into its facilities for eight weeks.

“The park’s animal care experts became surrogate moms, providing a specialized marine-mammal milk formula, rich with 13 percent milk fat,” SeaWorld wrote in a press release to NBC 7.

The harbor seal was released at South Casa Beach in La Jolla.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, animal experts released the seals along the beach. Usually, SeaWorld would release the animals by boat a few miles off the coast, but the pandemic had shut down area beaches, park officials said.

SeaWorld said it has rescued 50 marine mammals so far this year.

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