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A Wicked Shark Bite Wound for Weka

This little California sea lion was almost a meal for one big shark!


October 7, 2013

Unfortunately, Weka died. Veterinarians conducted a post-mortem exam and learned that his lungs were inflamed - indicative of a bacterial infection that developed as a result of the shark bite wound.

October 2, 2013

Weka looks around after his exam on October 2, 2013. He is recovering from a shark bite wound.
© The Marine Mammal Center

On September 18, the stranding department at The Marine Mammal Center began receiving reports from members of the public about a sea lion with a nasty wound that was seen swimming around the beach and nearby Coast Guard Jetty in Monterey. Each time our rescue team went out, the sea lion (nicknamed Weka) would dive back into the water and swim away - just like a normal wild sea lion should behave. What was so unusual was the fact that this little male sea lion had a long, nasty gash along his back - indicative of either a run-in with a boat propeller, or a run-in with a shark!

Sea lions can live with such major injuries for a while, but our team knew that his only true chance of long-term survival was to receive medical care for that wound. After a week of sightings, Weka hauled out on to the rocks and the team was able to safely rescue him.

Weka rests on his non injured side at The Marine Mammal Center.
© The Marine Mammal Center

Veterinarians and volunteers examine Weka's shark bite wound.
© The Marine Mammal Center

Once at our hospital in Sausalito, veterinarians got a good look at Weka and they cleaned the wound - a 15 inch-long horizontal gash - which they say was most definitely caused by a hungry shark! The veterinarians immediately started Weka on some pain medication, and antibiotics to ward off infection. A week after his arrival, the veterinarians did another exam. They will continue to monitor him closely for other health issues related to that injury and they hope he'll regain his appetite very soon. He has another sea lion patient, named Dalamar, to keep him company in his pen.




Learn more about sharks at our Members Only Night on October 8!

Shark Facts

Read Athena's shark attack survival story!

Find out about upcoming events at The Marine Mammal Center


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