DOCUMENTARY TRAILER: SEA LION RESCUE
For he past 5 years, the Sea Lion Rescue team has rescued several tens of sea lions from entanglement in different Nature Reserves. Here is a small look at our work, passion and love for giving just a little bit of life back to the sea.
Tequila was one of the first sea lions that compelled us to create this project. When we first encountered him he had a fishing line wrapped twice around his neck and a fish hook pulling
and tearing at his mouth. His eyes were an expression of pain, and seemed to be pleading for help. After our first training workshop for the use of remote sedation, given to us by The Marine Mammal Center on November of 2015, we went through with our very first disentanglement campaign at the Espírito Santo Archipelago National Marine Park sea lion colony and at theSan Rafaelito sea lion colony in the Balandra Flora and Fauna Protected Area. There, we found Tequila. His rescue had unforgettable moments for the entire team. Tequila was rescued in 2016 as a juvenile. He is now a strong and vigorous subadult, a warrior who will soon face off against other males for his right to mate at the sea lion rookery. Following Tequila’s development further motivates us on this project, and shows us that we can successfully return life to the sea.
Video by Robert Guarasci
We are very happy to have allies from other countries who support our Sea Lion Rescue project! This is a clip of our beloved donor and actor, Steve Nichols, and of an entire team who very lovingly gave their time and talent to showcase how we can do so much more for our oceans. Calipso was the second successful rescue achieved with the remote sedation technique in Mexico.
We regularly find her at the sea lion rookery, where she leads a happy, healthy life.
Calafia has been an ambassador for our program. She was the very first sea lion rescued in Mexico using the remote sedation technique. This is important because prior to her rescue the use of anesthetics applied via tranquilizer dart rifle was not recommended in marine species, as it has routinely been with land animals, as there was a great risk of the animals drowning if they were in the water at the time the sedatives went into effect. Had this been the case, it would have been an enormous limitation to our rescue and disentanglement efforts. Fortunately, the technique had been specifically designed to prevent this from happening. Back in 2015, this was a new technique with very little exposure. The Mexican authorities and work groups were uncertain about its use, and saw it as risky. Calafia gave us the opportunity to perfectly demonstrate the effectiveness of this technique, and gave our local team the confidence to continue its implementation. Since then, we have successfully rescued 24 other sea lions in different locations around Mexico.
Calafia has a favorite rock she likes to rest on at the Espíritu Santo sea lion rookery, and is one of the specimens we most frequently encounter during our monitoring trips to that location. It is very comforting to see that she is healthy and bears strong and healthy pups each year.
Esperanza was first observed to be entangled in 2014, during one of our very first monitoring trips to the sea lion colony, which started this project off. The name we had originally given her was “Pesadilla” (Nightmare), due to the severity of her wounds and the unsettling effect that vision had on our team. For almost two years, great efforts were made to rescue her, but for one reason or another, during those campaigns we kept running into obstacles which
prevented us from capturing her. In that time, we decided to change her name to the more positive “Esperanza”, which means Hope in Spanish. The name was perfect, as hope is what she represented to our team. Finally, on November of 2016, we were able to successfully capture and rescue her, and although she still bears a gruesome scar fro her ordeal, she is now in perfect health. Esperanza is the best proof of the resilience of these animals, and despite having spent at least two years with these terrible wounds, she did not give up. She is one of our favorites. Santi There are areas at the Espírito Santo Archipelago National Marine Park where fishing of any
There are areas at the Espírito Santo Archipelago National Marine Park where fishing of any kind is strictly forbidden. One of these areas is Los Islotes, also known as La Lobera or the Sea Lion Rookery, to which we have referred previously here. This is the main sea lion colony at the Marine Park, where these animals both mate and give birth to and rear their young. Here, sea lion pups are born, nursed, and rapidly grow and learn to swim in order to become
independent hunters. Whenever fishermen break the rules and illegally fish in these waters, the first evidence is the increase in the number of pups found with fishing lines and nets entangled on their bodies. Their immediate rescue is of critical importance, as they will very rapidly grow and the netting will cut into their bodies, causing life threatening wounds, at a much faster rate than it does with juveniles or adults. With these pups, we must use the Mixed Technique. Santi, a very, very playful pup, enjoys playin with the rookery’s human visitors. He will bite their fins, steal their snorkels and swim in fast circles around divers. He will come and hug people as well. Many pups like Santi were disentangled and rescued from May of 2018 to April of 2019. 11 pups in total. To see these pups’ wounds quickly heal makes our team, as well as our donors, extremely happy with these results. We hope that people will understand and be aware of how our actions as a species affect life on this planet. Do you know where the fish you eat comes from and how it was caught?
Pacifica is a very special case for us, as well as the very first specimen rescued on Isla Margarita, on the Pacific side of the Baja California Peninsula. In Pacifica’s case, the entanglement was not caused by fish lines or nets, but by floating refuse. This young female had a plastic ring around her neck; some sort of gasket from a mechanical piece, possibly a motor. It is very sad to see how even a remote place, such as Isla Margarita, is full of trash. Cases of injury to different species caused by entanglement with or ingestion of plastic materials, are more common every day. Pacifica’s case should be a reminder, and we hope it will help create awareness of how our daily decisions affect our planet, and how it depends on us, whether these effects will be negative or positive.