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Blonde Bomber Rescue

     

Rescuers successfully capture a sea lion tangled in a plastic packing strap at PIER 39.

October 18, 2012

Blonde Bomber is Back in "Nature's Pool"

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A crowd gathered to see Blonde Bomber off this morning as he waddled his way down a sandy stretch of Rodeo Beach and into the ocean. The weather was absolutely gorgeous for the event - sunny skies, a warm breeze, and fantastic surf!

Blonde Bomber Slide 01

Blonde Bomber rests at The Marine Mammal Center.
Photo by Ingrid Overgard © The Marine Mammal Center.

Blonde Bomber Slide 02

Blonde Bomber eats a meal at The Marine Mammal Center.
Photo by Ingrid Overgard © The Marine Mammal Center.

Blonde Bomber Slide 03

Volunteers bring Blonde Bomber down to Rodeo Beach.
Photo by Ingrid Overgard © The Marine Mammal Center.

Blonde Bomber Slide 04

A "dune buggy" is used to wheel Blonde Bomber across the beach.
Photo by Ingrid Overgard © The Marine Mammal Center.

Blonde Bomber Slide 05

The carrier door is opened and Blonde Bomber is released!
Photo by Ingrid Overgard © The Marine Mammal Center.

Blonde Bomber Slide 06

Blonde Bomber runs toward the crashing waves on Rodeo Beach.
Photo by Ingrid Overgard © The Marine Mammal Center.

Blonde Bomber Slide 07

Surf's up for Blonde Bomber!
Photo by Ingrid Overgard © The Marine Mammal Center.

Blonde Bomber Slide 08

Blonde Bomber enjoys being back in his ocean home.
Photo by Ingrid Overgard © The Marine Mammal Center.

Blonde Bomber Slide 09

Blonde Bomber catches a wave, shortly after his release!
Photo by Ingrid Overgard © The Marine Mammal Center.

Watch Slideshow!

Bomber was taken to the beach in a carriage of sorts, consisting of a metal rescue carrier that rested on top of a cart with large rubber wheels. Once he was wheeled within 200 feet of the shore, Dr. Bill Van Bonn and volunteers lifted up the door to the carrier. Within seconds, Blonde Bomber hopped out, looked around at the crowd of people and then made his way to the ocean. Just before diving in, he took one last look back at some of his caretakers and fans - almost as if he was saying goodbye - and then he disappeared into the waves.

One beach goer commented; "Looks like he made it back to his big pool - the ocean." He did indeed!

October 12, 2012

Blonde Bomber, sea lion, entanglement, dart gun, rescue, pier 39, marine mammal center
Blonde Bomber rests at The Marine Mammal Center.
© The Marine Mammal Center


Blonde Bomber is doing well and eating fish now that he's calmed down a bit and knows that the humans at The Marine Mammal Center are not trying to hurt him! The lab tests showed nothing remarkable regarding potential illnesses or disease, so for now, the veterinary team will keep an eye on him for the next few days and if all goes well, Blonde Bomber could be back in the ocean within a week!

October 10, 2012

Blonde Bomber entanglement
The plastic packing strap that was removed from Blonde Bomber's neck.
© The Marine Mammal Center


Blonde Bomber is resting comfortably at our hospital this evening. This morning, the veterinary team cut off the entanglement, a solid 7 inch loop of plastic packing strap, from around his neck. Veterinarians estimate that he had been living with that plastic noose around his neck for at least 4 months, possibly as long as a year, based on the amount of old scar tissue that had formed on his neck. While he rehabilitates here, the veterinary team will analyze his blood samples, among other samples they took during his admit exam, to determine if there are any other health issues for him that need to be treated. If none are found, he could be released back to the ocean as early as next week.

October 9, 2012

Blonde Bomber, sea lion, entanglement, dart gun, rescue, pier 39, marine mammal center
The rescue operation was captured on PIER 39's sea lion cam!
© PIER 39 Sea Lion Cam


A tricky rescue scenario ended successfully on Tuesday, October 9, thanks to the fantastic efforts of our team of staff and volunteers! With nets, herding boards and a dart gun in hand, the team set out to PIER 39 in San Francisco to rescue a California sea lion that was entangled in ocean trash. The juvenile male sea lion was named Blonde Bomber because of the light-colored sagittal crest forming on top of his head, signifying his approaching adulthood.

As you can see in the video above, the team got into place while a large crowd formed at the Pier's lookout. Dr. Bill Van Bonn, the Center's staff veterinarian, used a specially made dart gun to shoot a dart loaded with a mild sedative into Blonde Bomber just at the shoulder blades. The team waited for the sedative to take effect; it was just the right dose to slow the sea lion down, but not enough to put him to sleep. After about 20 minutes or so, the team slowly moved in and with a little tenacity, were able to net him quickly. After that, Blonde Bomber was transported to our hospital where he is currently resting comfortably. He was pretty agitated from the whole ordeal and since the entanglement was not life-threatening, they decided the best immediate treatment for him is to let him de-stress and work on cutting off the entanglement in the morning.

Special thanks to our rescue team:

Dr. Bill Van Bonn – staff veterinarian

Geno DeRango – stranding coordinator

Stan Jensen – trained rescue volunteer

Ernie Hirose – trained rescue volunteer

Rusty Rosenburg - trained rescue volunteer

Sue Hawley - trained rescue volunteer

Sophie Guarasci, veterinary technician

Cinzia Centellegh, James Steeil, Tricia Fleming, Julia Underwood (all externs studying with us)

Courtney Lamar and Neha Gidvani - education outreach


Related:

Learn how you can pledge to stop ocean trash!

Learn more about
California sea lions


Learn about the Marine Mammal Protection Act which turns 40 years this year!

Give a seal a meal - Dollar-a-Pound!


Learn how you can support The Marine Mammal Center

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