This past Thursday, the Marine Mammal Center released a rescued sea lion nicknamed Milestone and another, Zodiac Girl, back into the Pacific Ocean near Point Reyes. According to SFGate, the two sea lions were the 10,000th and 10,001th the nonprofit center has rescued and nursed back to health over the past 36 years.
Here’s a video of Milestone and Zodiac Girl being released:
The Sacramento Bee says that only about half of the more than 17,000 marine mammals — including entangled whales — who are taken in by the Center are released. Many of the animals have contributed samples that are helping the Center conduct research with one such area being the exposure of sea lions to carcinogens. Pollutants like DDT and PCBs are banned in the US but still found in the sea lion’s blubber. Chemicals, antibiotics and “other substances of human origin” have also been found in the mammals rescued by the Center, all of which point to the polluting of their ocean home by humans.
The Marine Mammal Center certainly has its work cut out for it: Just about a week ago on July 29, it reported about its efforts to rescue two California sea lions entangled in fishing line wrapped around their necks. The two sea lions, one about 2-3 years of age and the other about 4 years of age, were spotted in early July by people visiting San Francisco’s Pier 39:
The two have been resting periodically on the famous floating docks – a haven for many sea lions – and also a challenging moving obstacle for rescuers. The Center has made multiple rescue attempts to try to capture these sea lions but each attempt has resulted in the pinnipeds diving off the bobbing docks and swimming away. Rescuers approach these kinds of rescues carefully because of the danger of further stressing the sea lions, and as a result, making the entanglement tighter. Chasing these animals provides additional stress on them and the Center, along with the National Marine Fisheries Service, advise against such measures.
The Center is hopeful that the two sea lions might be spotted elsewhere and another attempt at a rescue effort made.
Approximately 8 percent of the marine mammals taken in yearly by the Center have entanglements in ocean trash, usually in the form of fishing lines and nets — here’s hoping that these two sea lions can one day be swimming freely like Milestone and Zodiac Girl back in the ocean.
Photo from lowjumpingfrog