SeaWorld returns rescued sea lions to wild

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SAN DIEGO -- Several sea lions nursed back to health at SeaWorld San Diego, including a pup found sleeping in a booth at the oceanfront Marine Room restaurant in La Jolla, were returned to the ocean Tuesday morning.

Marina was dehydrated and malnourished when discovered Feb. 4 at the iconic eatery, and weighed just 20 pounds, half of what she should, according to park officials. She also had an eye injury, which has since healed.

During her two months in rehabilitation, she also gained 25 pounds and displayed an ability to forage for food -- necessary for survival in the wild.

SeaWorld San Diego has taken in more than 300 marine mammals already in 2016, with 150-200 rescues recorded in an average year. Sea lion pups have found it particularly difficult to find food with the El Nino conditions, park officials said.

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