Human Interest

Sea lion with deep neck wound rescued on Argentine beach

Buenos Aires, May 16 (EFE).- A sea lion has been rescued after washing up on a beach in Argentina with a deep neck wound caused by a plastic cable tie, a common packaging element.

The Mundo Marino Foundation said Tuesday that it rescued the marine mammal – a young male South American fur seal (Arctocephalus australis) – last week after being alerted to its presence by a local resident at Aguas Verdes beach, Buenos Aires province.

“We arrived with safety tools for cutting these types of objects, such as pieces of netting or hand nets, and if the animal was in good condition, to prioritize keeping it in its place. But in this case, with that deep of a wound, we opted to take it in” for rehabilitation, Sergio Rodriguez Heredia, a biologist who leads the Mundo Marino Foundation’s Rescue Center, said.

Once at the center, located about 320 kilometers (200 miles) south of Buenos Aires in the coastal town of San Clemente del Tuyu, the team of veterinarians anesthetized the animal to inspect the wound.

“We found that, amid the folds of skin, the animal still had the plastic cable tie that had caused the wound. Unfortunately, although we don’t realize it, these types of cases of animals so seriously wounded are a warning to us and send us a message about the threats that marine wildlife are exposed to,” Rodriguez Heredia said.

The wound was infected and was particularly deep in the throat area.

The sea lion, who was suffering from anemia and an elevated number of white blood cells but was strong physically otherwise and in good spirits, will stay at the Rescue Center until he makes a full recovery.

The Mundo Marino Foundation recalled that three other similar cases of sea lions affected by plastic cable ties and abandoned fishing nets occurred in 2022.

Two of those marine mammals survived.

But the third, who was badly wounded by a nylon net that was pressing against its neck and extended to one of its armpits, died during the rehabilitation process. EFE


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