SeaWorld suspends more shows to help with sea lion rescues

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Young sea lion struggles on shore, it's too weak to return to ocean in search of food.

SAN DIEGO — SeaWorld San Diego announced Thursday its sea lion and otter shows will remain suspended for at least another week while staff members deal with a record number of rescues of marine mammals along the coast.

However, the rate of rescues has subsided somewhat, so the theme park will begin “informational presentations” on sea lions and otters on Friday, park officials said.

“Although we will continue to keep some of our sea lion and otter trainers in our animal rescue center, we’ve been able to bring a few back to Sea Lion and Otter Stadium,” said Mike Scarpuzzi, vice president of zoological operations at the park. “This will allow us to provide an informational presentation to our guests in the near term. The presentation will be less complex than the regular show and require fewer trainers to perform.”

The presentations will last 15 minutes or so and include segments on how SeaWorld rescues and rehabilitates marine mammals. The regular shows were suspended March 6.

Park officials said they expect the sea lion and otter trainers to work with animal rescue staff for another week, and then re-evaluate.

SeaWorld said its personnel have rescued 522 marine mammals so far this year.

Anyone who comes across a stranded or ill sea lion is asked to contact a lifeguard or call SeaWorld’s Rescue Hotline at 800-541-7325. Park officials said people should not touch or feed the sea lions.

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