On Valentine’s Day a dehydrated, malnourished and very lethargic sea lion was rescued from a beach in Oceanside, California by SeaWorld’s Animal Care Team. After careful examination, it was revealed it had been shot and had suffered a wound 4 inches by 8 inches on the left flipper.
The sea lion, named by SeaWorld staff as Valentine, was shot in the humorous bone initially, with the bullet fragmenting and becoming lodged in her shoulder blade region - which was removed by SeaWorld vets in surgery.
Valentine weighs 45 kilograms, about 11-15 kilograms underweight for her size and is estimated to be 5 to 10 years old. She is currently being treated with antibiotics, and is alert and eating, which are both good signs.
Officials are unsure if the shooting was an intentional act of cruelty or if it is was a fisherman trying to keep the animal away from their catch. However, the shooting is a violation of the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act and will be investigated by the National Marine Fisheries Service which is the U.S. government agency that has oversight of the MMPA and the marine mammal rescue program.