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Sea Lion Amputee Back in the Wild!

Three flippers are just as good as four! Bazingo is back in the wild after life-saving surgery at our hospital.

August 23, 2012

Today, this little California sea lion named Bazingo was reunited with the ocean after a month-long stay at our hospital.

Bazingo, a California sea lion, goes back to the ocean after surgery to remove an injured flipper.
© Jimmi Johnson - Creativity Center


Volunteers from our San Luis Obispo operations rescued Bazingo on July 20 after they received a report that the he was hanging out at Oceano Dunes with what appeared to be a badly injured flipper. Bazingo was transported to Sausalito where our veterinarians could take a closer look at him. It didn't look good. Bazingo's right rear flipper was very infected and swollen, and he had seeping wounds.

If left alone, the infection could have spread and compromised his health, possibly proving fatal. After careful consideration our veterinarians decided that amputation was the best option and scheduled Bazingo for surgery to remove the flipper. On August 7, Bazingo was safely anethesized and the surgery began. Watch our veterinarians at work to remove the injured flipper.

Back in his pen, it didn't take long for Bazingo to waddle into his pool and begin swimming, much to the staff and volunteer's delight! He remained under observation for a couple of weeks post surgery just to make sure everything was healing correctly, and he was eating and doing all of the normal things wild sea lions do.

A post-surgery Bazingo looks around before waddling towards his pool.
© Ingrid Overgard - The Marine Mammal Center

Given that it was not a major limb (like a front flipper) sea lions can adapt to life without a rear flipper. Our veterinarians are confident that Bazingo will have productive life foraging in the wild. At Point Reyes National Seashore, Bazingo and another sea lion named Vu, were released back into the Pacific Ocean. Another pinniped buddy - a wayward northern fur seal named Golden Missy - also went with them.


Bazingo swims behind Vu at Point Reyes on August 23, 2012.
© Jimmi Johnson - Creativity Center



Read Golden Missy's story!

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