A sea lion lay in apparent agony on the sand in Mission Beach near Ormond Court on March 13. At least nine individuals circled the pup. Some snapped photos while others placed calls to the SDPD, San Diego Animal Control, and SeaWorld. Joggers, surfers, and beachgoers passed within a few feet of the pup and each time, more frightened, it retreated with a struggle, toward the water.
“It’s been there since 6:15 this morning. We called for help three hours ago,” said a tourist from Minnesota. Several other bystanders claimed they too had placed phone calls for help. A two-inch cut on the pup's nose was apparent. On its back were deep wounds.
“I just gave SeaWorld a lot of money yesterday, and you can tell them that I’m very disappointed with their response time,” said a visitor from Arizona.
“Don’t let it go into the water,” said Janette, local resident who directed passersby away from the pup. “SeaWorld won’t rescue it if it goes back into the water.” When the pup dashed toward the water, an onlooker stood in front of it.
At about 9:20 a.m., two individuals from SeaWorld arrived with nets. They scooped the little guy up and had him in their vehicle in no time.
“Our veterinarians will give him a physical, rehabilitate him, and then we’ll set him free,” said SeaWorld representative Jody. “It looks like he may have been smashed around in the rocks. Can’t be sure.”
Jody said the pup was no more than nine months old and that this was the 27th seal/sea lion rescue SeaWorld has made since the beginning of the year (they average 150 annually). The most common reasons for the rescues include malnourished weanlings and parasitic infections.
For video of the pup and its rescue, click here.