Several El Toro High students helped rescuers from the Pacific Marine Mammal Center extract a malnourished sea lion pup from the rocks at Crescent Bay in Laguna Beach this past Saturday.
“The El Toro students were a huge help to us in transporting the pup back over the rocks,” said Debbie MacCarter, the center’s development coordinator.
“Rescues can be difficult there at times, but tide was low and we had an experienced team, so with a little rock climbing we were able to access the pup,” said MacCarter.
The pup, with its ribs showing and shoulder blades prominent, was obviously thin and easily netted off the rocks by Beverly Kansas and Jim Nelson, she said. Since the pup appeared malnourished, a decision was made to bring him to the center.
Even as rain threatened again about 3:30 p.m., waves were rising and thunder and lightning booming and crackling, the El Toro volunteers helped carry the netted, 31-pound mammal over the rocks. “With their help we were able to get the pup back to the truck in half the time if it had only been the three on the crew,” MacCarter said.
Back at the center, the rescued pup, estimated at under nine months old, ws running fever and may harbor an infection, MacCarter said.
Unlike last spring, when the center was overwhelmed with so many starving pups it was declared a mortality event, this year’s patient load seems lower than usual, said Melissa L. Sciacca, development director. Saturday’s stranded pup joined just seven others at the center, which can take in as many as 120 animals for rehabilitation depending on the species.