Recovered sea lion returns to ocean after being found in seafood restaurant

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Thursday, April 7, 2016
Marina the sea lion returns to the ocean on April 5.
creativeContent-SeaWorld San Diego

A malnourished sea lion who was discovered in a seafood restaurant two months ago has been nursed back to health and returned to the wild.

The sea lion pup, nicknamed "Marina" by her rescuers, wandered into the Marine Room in La Jolla, Calif. in early February. At the time, she weighed 20 pounds, half of what she should weigh.

After she was discovered by restaurant staff, SeaWorld San Diego was called in to help and brought her to their Animal Rescue Center. Though the odds were stacked against her, Marina was nursed back to health and began to regain her strength. She gained 25 pounds and proved she could find food for herself.

Her rescuers decided it was time for her to go home. On Tuesday, Marina and several of her sea lion friends were taken out on a boat and returned to the ocean.

"She was a feisty, sassy animal, and part of the success of her rehabilitation was that effort and that energy Marina put forth," said Jody Westberg, SeaWorld's stranded animal coordinator. "That's why I know she's gonna do great, and she's gonna thrive out in the wild."