Oil spill sea lions returned to the ocean - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Oil spill sea lions returned to the ocean

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The three sea lions affected by the oil spill near Santa Barbara are back in the ocean. 

The animals, along with other rescued from local beaches, were released Friday at Border Field State Park after being treated at SeaWorld. 

SeaWorld is part of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network.

Since the May oil spill, the organization has rescued dozens of marine mammals. 

SeaWorld cleaned, hydrated, and treated the sea lions before returning them back into the wild. 

When they were rescued, some of the sea lions were nothing but skeletons coated in oil. One of the sea lions has a satellite transmitter attached to help gather data. 
 
"This really is their second chance at life," said Jody Westberg, a SeaWorld Rescue Team member. 

For the past four months, SeaWorld has rehabilitated 62 marine mammals rescued from the oil spill and other malnourished pups. 

With a little encouragement, off they went, waddling into the ocean. 

"Ok my friends, it has been amazing rehabilitating you. It is now up to you. You've got this," said a SeaWorld Rescue Team member to the sea lions. 

This has been a record-breaking year for sea lion rescues by SeaWorld. On average, 200 animals a year, but since January of this year, more than 1,000 marine-mammals have been rescued. 

Most are mal-nourished sea lion pups because of the lack of fish sources. 

The transmitter on the sea lion will help SeaWorld gather data on what could be causing the epidemic. 

SeaWorld said since the pups are only one-year-old, they don't always go back to where they were found. 

Many of the released sea lions have moved down to Baja California, some to Northern California, and even San Diego. 

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