Entangled sea lion

See other images of injuries on Ryan’s  Flickr site:

See this link to the log pages with injured marine mammals.

rmropedec132009A Steller sea lion entangled in rope was spotted at Race Rocks today (12/13/09). The rope appears to be snagged in the rocks and the animal may be tethered to the island. Tomorrow DND will be blasting about 1 mile north of here, an event that usually causes all sea lions hauled out to stampede into the water. If this animal is stuck on land, an attempt may be made to disentangle it.

See the account of its release at http://racerocks.ca/racerock/admin/intervention/2009entangle.htm

Further comments from resident marine scientist and ecoguardian at Race Rocks Ryan Murphy
: December 21 2009

Ryan was interviewed for this article in the Goldstream Gazette: Daring Sealion Rescue at Race Rocks

“Normally, neither DFO or the Vancouver Aquarium will intervene with entangled pinnipeds (seals and sea lions), but this case was special for a number of reasons.
1.  The sea lion was actually tethered to the rocks.  These animals are really tough and can often survive for years with their entanglements.  If tranquilized, these animals would take to the water and most likely drown before a rescue team could get to it.  This wasn’t the case here and so a rescue operation was a viable option.
2.  Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) like this one are listed as a species of special concern under SARA and as such are afforded a higher priority than other more abundant species like harbour seals and california sea lions.
3.  This animal was most likely spotted within 24 hours of its entanglement and was still in relatively good health.  Mike Demarchi of LGL who was on the island monitoring DND activity on nearby Bentinck Island and Rocky Point first spotted it on the morning of the 13th and his team and I were able to keep a very close eye on it during the daylight hours.  It was reported to DFO’s Observe, Record, Report (ORR) line (1-800-465-4336) and the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rehabilitation Centre (at 604-258-SEAL (7325) or via the emergency phone at 604-862-1647).  A case like this on an offshore haul out would most likely have resulted in death by starvation, hypothermia, or drowning long before it was sighted.  In the 3 days between the first sighting (first photograph) and its successful rescue, this animal had further tangled its tether from about 10m to 3m and exacerbated the wound to its flipper.  The gale yesterday would have drowned it had it not been rescued.”