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Your morning adorable: Rescued sea lion pups prepare to return to the wild in Peru

May 25, 2010 |  9:18 am

Veterinarian Cristina Grau, a member of Orca, Organization for Research and 
Conservation of Aquatic Animals, plays with 3-month-old male sea lion Leo at an 
Orca rehabilitation base in Lima

Two South American sea lion pups, abandoned by their mother when they were a week old, are being cared for by the staff of the Organization for Research and Conservation of Aquatic Animals in Lima, Peru, until they are old enough to be released into the wild.

The pups, one male and one female who are now three months old, have been named Leo and Liz by the organization's staff. Veterinarians Cristina Grau and Carlos Yaipen even take Leo and Liz to a nearby beach to teach them skills they'll need for life as wild sea lions.

The organization's mission is twofold: It helps to promote education about marine mammals and conservation efforts in South America while rescuing and rehabilitating sick, injured and orphaned marine animals. It works primarily with South American sea lions and otters, but also works with dolphins, porpoises and whales.

See more photos of Leo and Liz after the jump!

Veterinarians play with 3-month-old sea 
lions at a beach in Lima

Veterinarians train 3-month-old sea lions at 
a beach in Lima

Three-months-old sea lions Liz (R) and Leo are seen at an Orca rehabilitation base in Lima

Veterinarian Cristina Grau, a member of Orca, Organization for Research and Conservation of Aquatic Animals, trains sea lions at an Orca rehabilitation base in Lima

Three-month-old female sea lion Liz plays with a toy in a room in the Orca rehabilitation base in Lima

[Correction: In an earlier version of this post, we said that sea otters were among the species cared for by the Organization for Research and Conservation of Aquatic Animals. Astute reader heather of the Otter Project wrote in to advise us that sea otters don't actually live in South America (other types of otter, including river otters and marine otters, do). We checked out the Organization for Research and Conservation of Aquatic Animals's Spanish-language website again and confirmed that our translation left something to be desired -- the group cares for river otters and marine otters, not sea otters. We've corrected the error and are, as always, incredibly thankful that we have such informed and helpful readers. Thanks a million, heather!]

RELATED SEA LION STORIES:
Sea lion pup found on Newport Beach rooftop
Sea lion pup rescued on 880 freeway in Oakland

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photos: Pilar Olivares / Reuters

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