After more than two months of monitoring a sea lion with fishing line wrapped around its head and a serious eye injury, SeaWorld was finally able to rescue him from a dock at a local marina. Initial visual contact with the animal proved that he had a fishing hook embedded into his eye. Rescuers attempted to safely connect with the animal; however, these attempts failed because there was no opportunity to safely rescue the animal. Fortunately, the situation improved.
After continued monitoring of the sea lion, rescuers reported that the hook was no longer visible and must have dislodged on its own. Over several weeks, multiple attempts to rescue the male sea lion came up empty as he would dive back into the waters of the marina. It was ultimately determined that the only way to give him a second chance at life was to sedate him with a tranquilizer dart.
On Dec. 8, Dr. Todd Schmitt, SeaWorld’s senior veterinarian, sedated the sea lion allow the Rescue Team to safely bring him back to the park’s animal care facility. During the surgical procedure to remove the fishing line that was embedded in his skin, it was determined through X-rays that, not only was there significant trauma from the fishing hook, but that he had also been shot through the eye with the bullet lodged in his jaw and throat area. Dr. Schmitt was able to successfully remove the fishing line, bullet, as well as the damaged eye.
Ultimately, Hook recovered from surgery during the rehabilitation process, responded well to antibiotics and was ready to be returned to the ocean. He was successfully returned Jan. 22 to his ocean home. Watch the final chapter of Hook's rehabilitation and journey home:
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