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Photos: Sea Lions Are Looking Healthier After Vicious Chlorine Attack

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Sea lions have had a pretty rough year so far. In April, some heartless jerk contaminated a pool at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach with chlorine, causing more than a dozen sea lions to become sick. But finally there's some good news: many of the sea lions have recovered, and they were released back in the ocean on Tuesday.

KTLA reports that 14 of the 17 sea lions who were sickened by the chlorine attack scampered back into the ocean at 8:30 a.m. Three sea lions are still at the rehabilitation center getting further treatment.

Here are some photos and video of the release:

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I think I was so excited to be releasing 14 sea lions at Main Beach this AM that my finger slipped off the video button!...

Posted by Best of Laguna Beach on Tuesday, June 2, 2015

“Things went amazingly well; all the animals went out,” Keith Matassa of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center told KTLA. “It was such a great thing to see the closure and see those animals return to the wild healthy.”

The sea lions had originally been rescued by the Pacific Marine Mammal Center—a nonprofit that rescues, rehabilitates and then releases sea lions—early this year to be treated for malnutrition, according to KPCC. Scientists found in March that there were an alarming number of starving sea lion pups stranded on California beaches in 2015, something they believe may have to do with unusually warm waters.

Pacific Marine Mammal Center's sea lions were nursed back to health and would have been released back to the ocean in late April. However, an intruder got past the fence at the mammal center and dumped chlorine into one of their pools, Laguna police told NBC Los Angeles. The chlorine burned the sea lions' eyes and gave them corneal ulcerations.

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Police are still investigating the incident and have not made any arrests.

Anyone with information about the April incident is urged to contact Detectives David Gensemer or Abe Ocampo at 949-497-0377 or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hotline at 800-853-1964.

Here are some before-and-after photos of the sea lions when they were rescued and released by the Pacific Marine Mammal Center:

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Before-and-after photos of Avery, the sea lion who was rescued in February at 23 pounds and released healthier at 74 pounds (Photo courtesy of Pacific Marine Mammal Center)

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Before-and-after photos of Benfold, the sea lion who was rescued in February at 24 pounds and released at 79 pounds (Photo courtesy of Pacific Marine Mammal Center)

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Before-and-after photos of Dakota, the sea lion who was rescued in February at 26 pounds and released at 75 pounds (Photo courtesy of Pacific Marine Mammal Center)

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Before-and-after photos of Flower, the sea lion who was rescued in March at 27 pounds and released at 76 pounds (Photo courtesy of Pacific Marine Mammal Center)

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Before-and-after photos of Hundi, the sea lion who was rescued in February at 27 pounds, and released at 66 pounds (Photo courtesy of Pacific Marine Mammal Center)