SeaWorld releases rescued sea lions into the wild - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

SeaWorld releases rescued sea lions into the wild

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Amid a record-setting year for rescuing malnourished, dehydrated or injured marine mammals, SeaWorld San Diego on Tuesday returned 22 rehabilitated sea lions to the wild.

They're among 650 marine mammals taken in by the theme park's animal rescue team so far this year -- mostly sea lions but also harbor seals, fur seals and elephant seals. The total far surpasses that of the previous high, 474 in 1983.

The numbers were so high that the park's sea lion and otter shows were suspended for a few weeks last month so staff could help out with rescuing and taking care of the sea lions.

The marine mammals are given veterinary care until they return to a healthy weight and can forage for food on their own, a process that takes about

six weeks, according to SeaWorld.

Generally, about 70 percent of rescued animals are returned to the wild, SeaWorld officials said.

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