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Angie: Three-Flippered Sea Lion Beats the Odds

Angie was released back to the ocean after a full flipper amputation.

Can a three-flippered sea lion survive in the wild? That is the question veterinarians from the Center set out to answer when they carried out a full flipper amputation on Angie, a juvenile female sea lion. Angie was rescued at Morro Strand State Beach on July 24, 2013 and named after one of the Center’s San Luis Obispo Operations volunteers who helped with the rescue. She was found to have a serious injury to one of her back flippers.

Two digits within Angie's left rear flipper were broken and infected, although the cause of the injury was not known. Shortly after arriving at the Center, surgery was performed on Angie's flipper to remove these two digits. She was then given pain medication and antibiotics in the hope that the infection could be stopped without further surgery. A week later the swelling around the wound was still bad and pus oozing from it indicated that the infection was still present. The decision was made to amputate all of the flipper in order to stop the infection from spreading, which would threaten Angie's survival.

It was not the first time the Center's veterinarians had performed a flipper amputation. In August 2012 a sea lion named Bazingo was rescued with a similar problem: a swollen and infected rear flipper. Bazingo recovered nicely from the amputation and was released back to the ocean, so hopes were high for a full recovery for Angie as well.

Just a month after her arrival at the Center, Angie was released at Chimney Rock, in the Point Reyes National Seashore. She recovered from her full flipper amputation and was deemed fit to survive on her own back in the ocean.


Related links:

Read more about Angie the Three-Flippered Sea Lion.

Learn more about California sea lions.

Find out about Visiting The Marine Mammal Center.


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