When Del Mar lifeguards found him on a Thursday in late January, the young sea lion with a cloudy left eye quietly laid his head on a rock.
They could tell Rocky – as he’d later be called – wasn’t well. Sea lions are typically lively. This one was sluggish.
SeaWorld says it typically rescues 100 to 150 per year, plus another 200 to 300 birds and a handful of other animals. SeaWorld has touted its rescue and research operations in recent months as part of its effort to combat the backlash associated with “Blackfish,” a documentary that blasts the company’s confinement of killer whales. Fans of the movie criticize SeaWorld for focusing more on profits than on efforts to protect orcas and other marine animals in the wild.
SeaWorld contends that it invests heavily in conservation and points to its rescues as proof.
And in the past year, the animals that have benefited most from SeaWorld’s care are emaciated California sea lions like Rocky.
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Yes---the rescue and research aspect of Sea World's work is admired --- and not the issue. It does not justify their use of orca and other sea life for entertainment exploitation.
Nice presentation of the Rescue side. The amount of money, even if 1%, on conservation side is still monies put towards organizations and projects that are involved in the conservation mission.
I didn't realize NOAA was part of The Dept of Commerce.
This is a perfect example of how enviro groups often times have conflicting agendas. Why they would choose to pick on Sea World is beyond me. They do plenty for the habitat and environment. People can look at Orcas on TV all day long and not really know how magnificent these animals are. Its worth keeping a few in captivity... like we do with most exotic animals, so as to better educate the public.
@jeff scott Rehabbing sea lions is like rehabilitating and releasing rats. The creatures who can't make it, who aren't victims of humanity, should be left to carry on the food chain.
Did you go see Gigi the grey whale? I did. And so did thousands of other people, which suggests maybe they could can the stupid trained animal acts and replace them with informational programs featuring creatures who have been rescued and will be released.
People "pick on" Sea World because of their history of working with orcas and lying to the public. They were never supposed to turn into a theme park with rides, but what are those towers in Mission Bay, huh?
Rides, that's what. And if you can find anything educational besides the labels on the fish tanks, you're looking real hard.
What can you say about a corporation that wiped out the last colony of burrowing owls in Mission Bay to expand their parking lot?
Environmentally concerned, would you say?
This just in, Assemblyman Richard Bloom of Hollywood is proposing a bill banning trained whale shows. That's a start. To spend one's entire life in a teeny concrete tank, I'd be snapping up trainers like popcorn.
Thanks for proving my point, you denigrate one specie, a protected specie I might ad, to justify your extremist-enviro-agenda.
You are the problem, not Sea World.
@barb grahamI’m not a fan of Sea World, but I have to comment on the state legislature’s consideration of a bill to ban their Orca shows. This is so “California”, micromanaging everything the legislature can get it’s hands on, this time because of a movie. Is it any wonder the state is broke?
This reminds me of the effort to “impeach” Dan Richards, chair of the state Fish and Game Commission, for the audacity to actually hunt something. In Richards‘ case, it was a totally legal mountain lion hunt in Idaho, one of the several Western states that find it sensible to control these predators through periodic hunts to prevent their proliferation in the wild. Our piniped fiasco in La Jolla shows how California handles this sort of stuff.
"They were never supposed to turn into a theme park with rides, but what are those towers in Mission Bay, huh?"
That is a big "so what"
Expanding ones venue to tap into other revenue streams by appealing to a broader audience is called.......good business.
@jeff scott You do know that protected isn't the same as endangered or threatened, don't you?
In the 1960s there were roughly 30,000 sea lions on the west coast. Now there are over 300,000. So, yeah, they're like seagulls or rats or roaches. Or humans. Given the opportunity and no predators (since we killed off the sharks) their numbers exploded.
So I submit sir, that YOU are the problem, because your ignorance is shared by people who determine policy. Policy based on ignorance is never a good thing.
Representative Bloom has the right idea. People who think it's okay to capture animals out of the wild and use them to profit from their entertainment value are the problem too. So look in your mirror and say 'hello' to Mr. Problem.
Enslavement isn't the same as hunting, and those pens the Orcas are forced to live in is comparable to stuffing you into a very small travel trailer and locking the door so you can never leave unless you're needed to crank the organ grinder's instrument.
Believe me, if I could bust a cap in every sea lion harassing a fishing boat, I would do it. Again, before those stupid things were protected as a sort of bulk bargain deal covering all marine mammals, there were only a few nuisance dogs hassling the boats, because it was legal to shoot them. Sea lions are smart, they know the difference between a gun and a useless seal bomb. The latter doesn't work.
Interestingly, MOST of the sea lions left the boats alone. They are smart.
Speaking of the difference between hunting and captivity, I thought it was stupid to can Dan the Man Richards for a cougar hunt. It's legal in other parts of the country, yet here you cannot even kill one legally in Montana and bring any part of it home. (So we had to eat it in Washington, quite good, very dense and mild.)
I'm in favor of hunting. I've been into falconry and done lots of fishing. I am not in favor of captive large mammals in tiny pens forced to dance for our amusement.
You have me pigeonholed all wrong. I whole heartily agree with your views on sea lions. I also see no difference between putting a lion behind a fence at the Zoo and breeding a few Orcas to entertain. I see Sea World, The Zoo, etc as helping people appreciate wild animals, ocean habitat, ocean environment. You see it differently, obviously.
Difference between you and me is I am not emotionally invested.
"...ignorance is shared by people who determine policy. "
And You are determining policy, and it is based on ignorance of the bigger picture, not to mention anytime an activist group gets googley-gaga over something they always exaggerate the truth, and you are likely ignoring this exaggeration.
What you can't see is you are no different than those who are fanatical about protecting sea-dogs, same thing...different animal.
Blame the city, they are the ones who granted them permission, heck. they even gave sea world a special permit exemption to build something higher than 2-stories west of the I-5......
And you can blame the DFG if you think our kelp has been over fished, they are the ones who let commercial fisherman bottom-trawl our kelp line way into the 90's.