Rescued Seals Return to the Wild

By Matt Baume
|  Tuesday, Apr 26, 2011  |  Updated 6:01 AM PDT
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Rescued Seals Return to the Wild

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It's a happy ending for some rescued marine mammals, as the Monterey Bay Aquarium released five seals and a sea lion back into the ocean.

A month ago, the animals were found malnourished and near death near Carmel. They were bought to a rehabilitation facility, then moved to a care facility in Sausalito, according to the CC Times. At the time that they were found, they were only about a third of the normal weight of animals their age.

Nobody knows how they wound up in such poor health. It's possible that they were abandoned by their mothers, or that their mothers were killed. Wildlife experts taught them to catch fish, then tested their hunting skills before deciding it was time to set them free.

Last week, the seals and sea lion were released near Point Lobos. Some lingered on the beach for a while before vanishing into the waves.

But they're not out of the woods yet. Plenty of predators lurk out in the open ocean, in addition to heavy environmental damage caused by humans.

Currently, the San Francisco Bay is experiencing a worrisome shark die-off. Nobody's sure what the cause is, although water pollution from residential fertilizer and pesticide are known to have a serious impact on marine health. Another potential cause is poorly-designed waterfront development, with channels and waterways that confuse animals and lead to accidental beaching.

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