Oceanside CA– SeaWorld® San Diego’s animal rescue operations are in high gear, giving more than 155 ill, injured and abandoned marine mammals a second chance at life so far in 2014.
While the amount of rescues this year trends above average, it is not approaching last year’s near record-breaking numbers of sea lions pups rescued along the coast from Santa Barbara County to the U.S./Mexico border during the Unusual Mortality Event (UME) declared by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
One of the marine park’s veterinarians, Dr. Hendrik Nollens, is working with a coalition of marine mammal scientists and federal officials trying to determine the cause of the UME. The findings to date indicate that a lack of high-value food source for nursing mothers led to the larger number of stranded, malnourished pups. SeaWorld’s rescue program prides itself on returning nearly 70 percent of the marine mammals it rescues back to the wild.