WATCH: An emaciated California sea lion was rescued by a team from the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. He is now being treated at the centre.
Animal rescuers at the Vancouver Aquarium said they have rescued a weak and emaciated California sea lion from a beach in Campbell River.
On Tuesday, a team from the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre came to Vancouver Island to rescue the animal, who is estimated to be three to four-years-old. The team had assessed the animal with personnel from Fisheries and Oceans Canada to decide whether it needed to be brought to the rescue centre.
?We received several calls from concerned members of the public about a sea lion at Willow Point,? Lindsaye Akhurst, manager of the Rescue Centre, said in a statement.
?We do see a large number of male California sea lions arriving in our area at this time of year, but it?s unusual to see one remain for several days on a beach where there is human activity.?
The rescue centre estimated the male sea lion’s age based on the size of his sagittal crest, which is a bony protrusion on his head. A veterinary team examined him on Thursday and determined that he was dehydrated and emaciated.
The rescued sea lion, who is now being called “Campbell,” weighs about 100 kilograms. Blood work, urinalyses, X-rays and ultrasounds showed some abnormalities in the animal’s blood consistent with renal changes, as well as some degree of pneumonia in his lungs and an old fracture to his left hind flipper.
Vancouver Aquarium head veterinarian Dr. Martin Haulena said many of Campbell’s symptoms are consistent with prolonged malnutrition and dehydration. He is now being treated with fluids, medication and supportive therapy.
California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) breed off the coast of Southern California and the Baja peninsula. During the non-breeding season, large numbers of animals, mostly male, migrate north to British Columbia.
The current population of California sea lions is considered healthy.Anyone who sees an animal is distressed is asked to stay away from it and call the rescue centre at 604-258-SEAL (7325).