SeaWorld tops record of seal, sea lion rescues
SAN DIEGO — SeaWorld San Diego has rescued 475 seals and sea lions so far this year, topping the previous record of 474 rescues in all of 1983, it was announced Thursday.
Just shy of three months into 2015, the parks rescue team has already recorded its highest number of rescues per year in its 51-year history. From Jan. 1 through this afternoon, SeaWorld had saved 458 California sea lions, 11 harbor seals, five elephant seals and a fur seal.
SeaWorld officials said the park was committed to helping the unprecedented number of ill and emaciated animals by scheduling extra rescue personnel, suspending its sea lion and otter show along with its Beluga Interaction Program, and constructing two temporary holding tanks.
The rescued sea lion pups were found malnourished, dehydrated and lethargic. Some were also ailing from hypothermia, hypoglycemia, pneumonia and other illnesses.
Veterinarians and animal care specialists care for each animal for up to eight weeks before they can be returned to the ocean.
More than 1,600 marine mammals have been rescued along the California coastline this year, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Park officials asked anyone who spots a seal or sea lion that appears to be sick, hurt or abandoned to call 800-541-7325.