SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A sea lion pup in Encinitas was saved Tuesday from a diver's mask that was tightly wrapped around its neck.
The year-old sea lion pup was found at Swami's Beach with a diver's mask wrapped around its neck. The sea lion, which only weighed about 32 pounds, appeared malnourished and dehydrated, according to SeaWorld rescue team members.
The mask had been wrapped around the sea lion's neck for weeks, preventing the pup from foraging and eating.
Had the mask remained on the pup, the animal would likely have eventually starved to death or been strangled by the mask, crews said.
Rescue team members cut the mask off the sea lion, but found that a wound caused by the mask had become infected. Crews took the pup to SeaWorld’s Animal Health and Rescue Center, where officials treated the sea lion's wound.
Officials say other than the wound and undernourishment, the sea lion was in good health. They hope to release the pup back into the wild in the next few months after rehabilitation.