Sea lion entangled in rope rescued off Vancouver Island

News source from CTV News

A sea lion that had a plastic rope tightly wound around its neck was saved over the weekend by a team from the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.

A video posted on the Vancouver Aquarium’s Facebook page shows the rescuers sedating the female Steller sea lion with a dart and then slowly detangling the plastic from her neck in the water off Vancouver Island.

The nylon rope had dug deep into the sea lion’s neck, and there were visible bleeding wounds on the animal. After the rope was removed and the sedative wore off, the sea lion looked more alert.

“I feel awesome. This is the whole reason I wanted to be a wildlife veterinarian – helping animals out, especially those ones affected by us,” Vancouver Aquarium’s head veterinarian Martin Haulena says in the video.

The rescue was done with the help of vessels from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Haulena says that the aquarium received several reports of sea lions entangled in ropes and plastic debris. The plastic pollution in the ocean is becoming a “crisis” for marine life, he says.

The Steller sea lions are considered a species of special concern. Some of their populations are endangered in parts of Alaska.

With files from The Canadian Press

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