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Sea lion that lost an eye to gunshot is returned to the ocean

Buck the sea lion returning to the ocean Friday. Credit: Mike Aguilera / SeaWorld San Diego

A California sea lion found three months with a gunshot wound to the face has been returned to the ocean after rehabilitation at SeaWorld San Diego.

The mammal was found Oct. 5 floundering on the rocks of La Jolla, severely underweight and with bite wounds to its right eye. Taken to SeaWorld, veterinarians found that he had been shot point-blank, causing the loss of his right eye.

For three months, SeaWorld specialists treated the animal with antibiotics and pain medicine. On a diet of herring, sardines and capelin, the sea lion gained 50 pounds. Finally, it was determined that the animal had sufficient eyesight in its remaining eye to catch fish and forage.

On Friday, the sea lion, now named Buck (for buckshot), was released at Border Field State Park Beach.


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Photo: Buck the sea lion returning to the ocean Friday. Credit: Mike Aguilera / SeaWorld San Diego


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