Entangled sea lion rescued at Pier 39

Hannah Schnitzer

A rescue crew captured one of two sea lions that were spotted entangled in debris at Pier 39 on Tuesday, a Marine Mammal Center spokesman said.

The Marine Mammal Center, based in Sausalito, responded to the “K-Dock,” an area where sea lions congregate on floating wooden platforms, about 12:30 p.m., Marine Mammal Center spokesman Jim Oswald said. He said it appeared the animals had fishing line around their necks.

A rescue team successfully deployed a dart with a mild sedative into one of the two sea lions about 1:50 p.m., Oswald said. Once the sedative kicked in, the rescue team slowly approached the creature, brought it to shore, put it in a rescue carrier and drove it to the center, where a veterinarian removed the debris wrapped around its neck.

“It’s tricky to do,” Oswald said of the rescue. “We don’t take them lightly.”

If the entanglement were more severe, rescuers could have opted to take the wire off on site, he said.

As of 4:30 p.m., the sea lion was resting at the center, Oswald said. The entanglement was not considered life-threatening and a veterinarian will remove it this morning, he said.

The rescue of the second sea lion became more complicated after it was scared by a tour boat and disappeared into the water, Oswald said.

Anyone who spots a marine mammal injured or entangled can call the center at (415) 289-7325.

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