News release from the Pacific Marine Mammal Center:
Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) successfully freed an adult sea lion from severe entanglement lacerations that were digging deeply into her neck, and also rescued a sick sea lion pup in need of care, all on the morning of Saturday, October 12.
*WATCH VIDEO OF THE RESCUE BY CLICKING THE YOUTUBE LINK IN THE BOX ON THE RIGHT -->
The rescue mission started with a phone call from a concerned contractor working on the platform, alerting the non-profit rescue organization to a group of seven sea lions that appeared to be all suffering from some kind of entanglement around their necks.
There was also a reference to a small pup that appeared to be unhealthy.
The sea lions were reported as being on a joint platform, named Ellie and Ellen, approximately 45 minutes off shore by Huntington Beach, a significant distance away for the Center. The rescue team from Pacific Marine Mammal Center, consisting of Dean Gomerall, Scott Sedlick, Wendy Leeds, and videographer Priscilla Salazar, formulated a plan, and with the assistance of the So Cal Shipping Services, arrived by boat at the platforms around 9 a.m. to attempt a rescue.
Upon their arrival, the team could see only three of the mentioned entangled sea lions, and only one was accessible. Netting rescuer Scott Sedlick was able to successfully net an adult female sea lion, who had two severe lacerations to her neck, caused by discarded gillnet. After safely securing the animal, Dean Gomersall was able to cut away the netting, and the team happily freed her back into the wild.
“Her injuries were significant, but now that we were able to cut away the debris, we are confident she will make a full recovery, and no longer be impeded by the gillnet,” said rescuer Wendy Leeds. “This will allow her to better maneuver in the water and eat properly.”
“It’s a shame to see so many sea lions on just one platform affected by marine debris. We are beginning to see more and more animals with these types of injuries, and Pacific Marine Mammal Center is enhancing its operations to make more rescue attempts to help mitigate the problem” said Dean Gomersall, Animal Care Supervisor and rescuer for PMMC.
While out on the platforms, the team also saw a malnourished and unhealthy four-month-old sea lion pup in need of rescue. “Jefferson”, named for one of the contractors who was present on the platform, was safely retrieved by PMMC and brought back to the Center, where he is currently recovering.
“It was another successful rescue mission by Pacific Marine Mammal Center,” said rescuer Scott Sedlick. “I’ve never had to swing on a rope to get to an animal before, but hey, whatever it takes.”