SeaWorld caring for sea lion shot in eye

'Buck' shot in eye by shotgun

SAN DIEGO - A sea lion struck in the eye by a shotgun blast is recovering at SeaWorld San Diego, park officials said Thursday.

The adult, 250-pound male marine mammal was discovered Oct. 5 at Boomer Beach in La Jolla and taken to SeaWorld for treatment. According to park officials, veterinarians first thought the sea lion now named "Buck" was injured in a fight, but then they found birdshot.

Since the wound was in a small area around the right eye, it appears Buck was shot at point-blank range, according to the park. A local TV station reported that Buck will be blind in the eye but should adapt because of its aggressive nature.

"Whenever an animal is rescued because of an injury due to humans it's really sad, because we know that it could have been prevented," SeaWorld's Heather Ruce told the station. "In this case, shooting an animal is actually a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and it's really sad to see an animal wounded like that."

Buck is recuperating well enough to where it could be returned to the ocean in about a month.

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