SAN DIEGO (CBS 8/AP) - A giant sea lion impaled by a homemade spear is recovering at SeaWorld after being rescued just off the Southern California coast.

The sea lion was spotted Saturday inside Oxnard Harbor.

It took several days for SeaWorld rescuers to locate the animal and capture him safely. Rescuers managed to hit the animal with tranquilizer darts and drag him ashore in a net. He's estimated to weigh more than 600 pounds.

Rescuers said it appeared the animal was intentionally stabbed.

"This animal would have died from this impalement if we were not able to rescue it, therefore we determined it was worth the risk," said a rescuer.

Veterinarian Sam Dover discovered the blade was so deeply embedded that it had to be cut out with a scalpel. Dover says it appears Bubba was intentionally stabbed.

The metal spear was taken as evidence. Harming a sea lion is a federal offense.

Bubba is expected to return to the ocean after recovering at SeaWorld San Diego.