Calif. Sea Lion Pup Blinded by Gunshot Wounds Finds New Home

By Samantha Tata and Marcus Riley
|  Friday, Jan 18, 2013  |  Updated 8:03 AM PDT
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A 1-year-old sea lion named Cruz lost his eyesight after suffering a gunshot wound to the face. He and another sea lion, Tanner, made their public debut recently at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium. NBC Chicago's Rob Stafford reports.

NBCChicago.com

A 1-year-old sea lion named Cruz lost his eyesight after suffering a gunshot wound to the face. He and another sea lion, Tanner, made their public debut recently at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium. NBC Chicago's Rob Stafford reports.

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Found on a Northern California beach last summer blinded by gunshot wounds to the face, a sea lion pup is learning the way around his new digs at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium.

Now 1 year old, an injured Cruz was spotted on a Santa Cruz beach and nursed back to health by the Marine Mammal Center in the Bay Area before finding a permanent home in Chicago.

Known for its rehabilitation facilities, the Shedd Aquarium will continue caring for Cruz, who has lost both eyes and still has metal shards in his skull from the bullets.

Trainers will use audio cues to train the blind pup instead of the visual targets typically used to train sea lions.

Officials said sea lions are often shot at for target practice or by fishermen who object to the animals raiding their nets.

The Shedd Aquarium is providing a home for two new sea lions, including a pup that was found blined from gunshot wounds.

Cruz joined the aquarium with an adult male sea lion, Tanner. Tanner found his way to Chicago as part of a government effort to relocate sea lions from the Bonneville Dam area in the Pacific Northwest in order to protect the salmon population.

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