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Surviving "Jaws!"

     

Incredibly, this juvenile California sea lion survived being chomped on by a great white shark!

September 20, 2012

Athena's wounds continue to heal well, so much so, that veterinarians feel confident that he'll do well back in the ocean! Today, he, along with his buddies Shareef and Fulano, were released at Rodeo Beach while a large crowd of school children and one famous ocean advocate looked on!

 

Athena, sea lion, release, rodeo beach, marine mammal center
Athena the sea lion beats a surfer into the icy-cold water at Rodeo Beach, September 20, 2012.
© The Marine Mammal Center

September, 5 2012

We admit shark bite victims to our hospital every year, but this young sea lion, named Athena, truly has the will to live!

Athena, California sea lion,marine mammal center, shark bite
Athena rests on rocks in Monterey after a shark attacked him.
© Lisa Fitch - The Marine Mammal Center


Our Moss Landing corps of volunteers rescued him near Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey on August 29. When they arrived on scene - it was an incredible sight - Athena was missing huge chunks of skin and blubber from his left side as a result of a great white shark attempting to make a meal of him! The team had to sedate Athena just to get him off the rocks because despite the wounds, he was still pretty alert and incredibly cranky! The team moved quickly and soon Athena was on his way to our hospital in Sausalito for some immediate medical attention!

Athena, California sea lion,marine mammal center, shark bite
Athena is checked out by veterinarians wile she's under anesthesia. the sea lion was admitted with large shark bite wounds.
© Anja - The Marine Mammal Center



Once he arrived at our hospital, veterinarians and volunteers sedated him again so that they could take a closer look at the wounds and see if any severe damaged had been done that might jeopardize his life. While it looked bad, veterinarians are confident that Athena's wounds will heal over time and will not cause any significant complications for him. Veterinarians are providing medical care to prevent the wounds from becoming infected, including spreading honey directly on the wounds in order to help speed up the process and stave off bacterial infections.

Athena, California sea lion,marine mammal center, shark bite
During the admit exam, veterinarians found pieces of yellow fishing line stuck to Athena's exposed chest cavity.
© Anja - The Marine Mammal Center



While examining Athena, veterinarians also noticed another hazard that he was involved in - a brush with some fishing line that had become fused to his exposed chest and yet another reminder that sharks are not the only hazards marine mammals face out in the ocean - trash can become a deadly killer as well!

Athena, California sea lion,marine mammal center, shark bite
Athena wards off the Marin Headlands chill on a heating pad at The Marine Mammal Center on Sept. 5, 2012.
© The Marine Mammal Center



Today, Athena is eating about 10 lb of herring a day on his own. He'll spend some time with us as the healing process continues, but for now, he is safe and away from predators! Read how our veterinarians used honey to heal another shark bite patient!

 

Related:

Help us feed patients like Athena through Dollar-a-Pound!

Learn where California sea lions hang out!

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