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An Olympic Rescue!

     

"Olympus" is now back in the ocean thanks to the tenacity of rescuers who risked it all to save this entangled sea lion.

August 6, 2012

Olympus, entanglement, sea lion, marine mammal center, release, Fitzgerald
Olympus navigates over the rocky shore at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in San Mateo County on his way to the ocean on August 4, 2012
© Jackie Adams - The Marine Mammal Center


After a short stay with us, Olympus, along with another sea lion named Trew, was released back to the ocean on August 4 at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in San Mateo County! While he will have scars as a result of the entanglement, veterinarians say those wounds will heal over time. Thanks to people like you, now he's a very healthy sea lion that was ready to return to the wild. 

July 30, 2012

Olympus, entanglement, sea lion, marine mammal center
In the water and with nets in hand, The Marine Mammal Center's Special Response Team is within reach of rescuing Olympus, seen here on a jetty in Monterey next to another sea lion.
© The Marine Mammal Center



Rescuing California sea lions that are entangled in ocean trash, such as monofilament line, nets, and other tough and unyielding materials,  is a tough challenge! Out of the dozens of animals we see swimming around with these hazards (about 8 to-10% of our patients yearly) only a small number of them are successfully rescued by us because most are still strong enough to elude even our most trained team members.

On July 29, our Special Response Unit was deployed to try to rescue a number of sea lions with entanglements near the USCG Jetty, floating buoys and other docks in and around Monterey Harbor. Many of these animals have been spotted for months with these entanglements and our volunteer team assembles as a group and with NOAA permissions, to attempt to rescue these animals and remove the entanglements. On that day, two sea lions with entanglements were spotted. The team made a Herculean effort to get to one sea lion but he was just too fast and powerful for them, and swam off not to be seen again that day. The other sea lion, a young male, was successfully rescued in what truly was an Olympic effort!

Olympus, entanglement, sea lion, marine mammal center
A team of veterinarians cut away keep Olympus stable as Dr. Bill Van Bonn cuts away the fishing line wrapped around the sea lion's head and neck.
© Ingrid Overgard - The Marine Mammal Center



It took four swimmers in the water and five more on land to help in the coordination and rescue of the lounging sea lion who was nestled in with others on a dock. Olympus, as he was later named, was entangled in green monofilament line that had cut into the back of his neck and back by as much as two inches in some places. It was apparent by those wounds that he had lived with that entanglement for months. At the rescue site, two of our volunteers  floated rectangular folding submarine nets near Olympus while the other rescuers stood by with two hoop nets ready to scoop him out of the water. After the first attempt failed (Olympus was fast in eluding the nets!) the volunteers regrouped with a new plan and eventually got the 110 lb animal netted and safely out of the water and into a transport carrier.


At the hospital, veterinarians carefully sedated him so that they could cut away the line which was heavily embedded into his neck, and begin to treat the wounds to promote healing. Fortunately for Olympus, he did not present with any other medical issues other than being a little underweight.

Olympus, entanglement, sea lion, marine mammal center
Olympus can breathe easier now that the fishing line is removed from around his neck! The wounds should heal in time.
© Ingrid Overgard - The Marine Mammal Center




The prognosis looks good for him and he could be released back to the ocean soon!

Related:

Go for the Gold - take our marine mammal trivia challenge and get a FREE ring tone!

Learn more about California sea lions

Read about another sea lion name Mufasa, who was entangled in fishing line as well !

Learn how you can prevent ocean trash

Adopt-a-Seal today and support a future patient!

 

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