SeaWorld rescues injured sea lion

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SAN DIEGO –SeaWorld rescue team workers rescued a sea lion with a 10-foot gaff pole stuck in its body Sunday.

SeaWorld responded to calls from witnesses, who reported seeing the injured animal at La Jolla Cove.

When rescuers arrived, they saw the sea lion with the metal hook of a gaff pole embedded three inches into his right shoulder, said SeaWorld.

The team assessed the situation from a distance, as they did not want to scare the animal and have him go back into the ocean with the wound.

“We had to approach this situation very delicately. There were a number of risks that went into this rescue. First, dealing with this ten foot pole, and also the other animals that are surrounding,” said rescue team member Kourtney Sanders.

One of the rescue team workers eventually approached the animal from behind and was able to get a hoop net over the sea lion’s body.

Two others were then able to get a larger net over the animal to secure him.

The hook was removed from the sea lion by a SeaWorld vet and was taken to an animal care facility at the park to be treated.

“[The sea lion] is being treated with medications, he’s not quite eating just yet, he’s still getting used to his surroundings but is improving,” said Sanders.

Sanders added the sea lion is using the right flipper and is hoping to release him back into the ocean in a week.

It’s unclear how the animal ended up injured but SeaWorld Veterinarian Dr. Todd Schmitt believes a fisherman may be to blame.