On November 11, 2000 at 8:31 am the Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur released an adult California Sea Lion into the waters of San Pedro. 00-75, or Malie as she is now known, carries on her back a satellite tag that will provide location details and information on her niche in the wild.
At 9am on the morning of August 4, 2000, ORCA received a call regarding a seal in distress at Surfers Point, Ventura County. ORCA volunteers arrived at the scene and found a California Sea Lion in the process of being pulled out to sea by the rough surf. After capturing the sea lion and bringing the animal up onto shore it was apparent that the sea lion was in a semi-coma and was also having seizures. The volunteers then loaded the sea lion into a transport vehicle and immediately left for the care center.
Once at the care center, our preliminary diagnosis of the sea lions condition was confirmed. She was suffering from the effects of demoic acid toxicity, a condition caused by the ingestion of fish affected by a particular algae that was known to be off our coast at that time. Though missing a large portion of her lower jaw, her ability to eat was evidenced by her body weight and the fact that she was having seizures, a symptom exhibited by animals that have eaten the fish in question.
Shortly after arriving at the care center, Malie also came down with a case of pneumonia, probably as a result of aspirating seawater during one of her seizures. Respiratory therapy, antibiotic treatment and countless volunteer hours helped her jump this next hurdle and put her on the road to recovery.
Three months after her arrival, 00-75 was actively holding her own in a pen with two other animals.
Location data collected from the satellite tag will be cross-referenced with topographical, temperature, wind and ocean current statistics in an effort to profile the feeding habits of an animal that has had to adapt to the challenges posed by a unique physical impediment. The tag may transmit information for as long as 6 months, and will detach when the animal sheds her fur in August or September of 2001.
Malia at the care center the day before her release back to the wild. Note: the satellite tag visible on her back.
Malie and two other Ventura County sea lions are released.
Click on Map to see "Malie" Data
Click on image to see Vessel "Malie"