The Rescue Team made several attempts to rescue the harbor seal after getting reports on the Rescue Hotline about the distressed animal at Children’s Pool in La Jolla. Each time the Team went out to try to help the animal, she would dash into the water.
Finally, on June 29, they were able to successfully find her and assess her condition. “We checked out her wound and it was really deep,” said Eric Otjen, assistant curator of mammals for SeaWorld San Diego. “The net was cutting in to her neck to the point we couldn’t see the line anymore.”
They brought her back to the park for an exam, rehabilitation and to remove the rest of the gill net. Her rehabilitation also included antibiotics, cold laser therapy and medicinal honey treatments. Many members of the team stated that this was the worst wound on a marine mammal they had ever seen.
“Her rehabilitation went very smoothly,” said Dr. Tres Clarke. “She was in the water the second day and even eating live fish.”
On July 9, the animal was returned to the ocean, along with two other rescued and rehabilitated seals. While the wound was not 100 percent healed, SeaWorld experts believe it was in the animal’s best interest to get her back to the ocean, as she had demonstrated the ability to hunt for prey and they did not want her to get too accustomed to humans.
“As soon as she got into the water, she started exploring her surroundings right away,” said Otjen, adding that saltwater will also help the wound further heal.