Crews to attempt rescue of injured sea lion

January 15, 2010 12:32:31 PM PST
Marine mammal rescue crews are back in Monterey Bay to try to and help an injured sea lion that was first spotted a couple of weeks ago in San Francisco.

That ever-elusive, injured sea lion that rescuers have tried capturing many times last week at Moss Landing Harbor is still playing hard-to-catch.

There have been plenty of other sea lions, relaxing on the rocks -- there has been no sign of him. They're quite social animals that like to hang out in groups, but the injured one has only ever been spotted alone.

A fishing line has been wrapped around the sea lion's nose and neck, cutting a deep gash into him. Just Thursday, the animal was spotted lying on a pontoon of a boat at a Moss Landing Harbor dock, but he was in such an inaccessible area that no rescue attempt was made.

Last week, volunteers from The Marine Mammal Center tried three days to capture him, but with no luck. The injured mammal was first spotted two weeks ago at San Francisco's Pier 39 and then re-surfaced in Monterey Bay last week. Unfortunately, the longer it takes to help untangle him from the fishing line, the longer he's suffering from a deep, open wound and can't eat well.

"He will continue to lose weight. He'll continue to dehydrate. At some point, he's going to have organ and kidney damage and hopefully we can catch him before its permanent damage," said Sue Andrews, of The Marine Mammal Center.

The National Marine Fisheries, which oversees enforcement and permitting to rescue groups, said the sea lion needed a rescue 'rest-break', so as not to stress it too much and aggravate the injuries more. He's had that break and now crews are out monitoring his whereabouts and are hoping to make a rescue as soon as possible.