SAN DIEGO — Two threatened and endangered animals rescued by SeaWorld San Diego have been released back into the wild, animal officials said.
An Olive Ridley Sea Turtle and Guadalupe Fur Seal were returned to their ocean homes this past week, located about 10 miles off the San Diego coastline, Tracy Spahr with SeaWorld San Diego said in a news release Thursday.
On Oct. 19, 2022, the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle named Pumpkin was rescued at Horsefall Beach in Coos Bay by the Oregon Coast Aquarium. She was believed to be cold stunned, which is when sea turtles become very weak and inactive from exposure to cold temperatures, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries.
Rescuers brought Pumpkin’s temperature up from 60 degrees to stabilize her. She was then taken from Oregon to SeaWorld San Diego on Nov. 3, 2022.
During her time in San Diego, the SeaWorld rescue team was able to help her gain strength, swim on her own and get her to a healthy weight and activity level, Sphar said.
“Prior to leaving SeaWorld Rescue Center she was diving on a regular basis, eating 600 grams of protein every day and maintained a healthy weight. Pumpkin was rescued at 24.5kg and was returned to the ocean at 34 kg,” Sphar said.
To avoid being cold stunned again, Pumpkin was released in warmer temperatures so she had the opportunity to swim to warmer waters.
On April 18, 2023, a Guadalupe Fur Seal pup was rescued in Malibu by California Wildlife Center due to it being emaciated and lethargic, SeaWorld said. The fur seal weighed 6.1kg at the time.
The pup was taken to SeaWorld, where it went through rehabilitation.
“The Guadalupe Fur Seal was returned with an orange plastic tag on it’s flipper as rehabilitated pinnipeds are marked in order to help the Stranding Network partners identify animals after they have been returned back to the wild,” Sphar said.
Both animals are among over 40,000 animals that SeaWorld has rescued, according to the organization.
If a viewer spots a marine mammal in need, call SeaWorld San Diego’s rescue hotline at 1-800-541-SEAL (7325) or email us using SWC.Rescue@seaworld.com.