A rescue team from Laguna Beach successfully freed an adult sea lion entangled in fishing line and also rescued a sick sea lion pup on Saturday, Oct. 12.
The Pacific Marine Mammal Center’s rescue mission started with a phone call from a concerned contractor on an oil platform offshore Huntington Beach about a group of seven sea lions that all appeared to be suffering from some kind of entanglement around their necks. There was also a reference to a small pup that appeared to be unhealthy.
The rescue team consisting of Dean Gomerall, Scott Sedlick, Wendy Leeds, and videographer Priscilla Salazar, with the assistance of the So Cal Shipping Services, arrived by boat to attempt a rescue.
Just one of the entangled sea lions was accessible on the platform, which was netted by Scott Sedlick. The adult female sea lion had two severe lacerations to her neck caused by discarded gillnet. After safely securing the animal, Gomersall was able to cut away the netting and the team happily freed her back into the wild.
“It’s a shame to see so many sea lions on just one platform affected by marine debris,” said Gomersall, an animal care supervisor, who added that the center is seeing more animals with similar injuries.
The team also rescued a malnourished and unhealthy four-month-old sea lion pup. “Jefferson,” named for one of the contractors who was present on the platform, was safely retrieved and brought back to the center for rehabilitation.
“I’ve never had to swing on a rope to get to an animal before, but hey, whatever it takes,” said rescuer Sedlick.
Pacific Marine Mammal Center is the county’s only licensed marine mammal shelter.