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Entangled sea lion freed off Vancouver Island

Last Updated Mar 21, 2018 at 9:15 am PDT

(Via the Vancouver Aquarium)

FANNY BAY (NEWS 1130) – It shows the impact debris in our waters has on wildlife–an impact the Vancouver Aquarium says is huge.

On Saturday, a rescue team from the facility along with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans managed to remove nylon rope that was cutting deeply into the neck of a Steller sea lion in Fanny Bay on Vancouver Island.

“In this small area, we had reports of up to four different animals being entangled in the last week or so,” explains Dr. Martin Haulena, the Aquarium’s head veterinarian. “[It was a] very severe injury. That rope had cut in right through the blubber layer, right into the muscle, and was certainly going to be eventually the cause of her death if nothing could be done.”

The rescue happened in the water and the sea lion swam away after it was done. He says most of the animals who were entangled were wrapped up in gear and plastic garbage.

Haulena say the team attempted to free another Steller from a plastic packing strap, but it bit out the sedative dart and swam away before the tranquilizer could do its job.

He says entanglements are the result of human activity and animals suffering directly from human causes and something needs to be done about it.

“We can get out there and do something,” he says. “[This is] a really big reason why I became a vet in the first place… to look at an animal that’s going to die because of human activity that’s going to die a very long, painful, or die in a long, painful kind of way, suffering, and to be able to do something about that is an absolutely amazing thing to do.”

WARNING: Video may be considered graphic to some viewers

Video via the Vancouver Aquarium