A massive oil spill on May 19, due to the rupture of a privately owned crude oil pipeline in Santa Barbara County, California, has caused many sea creatures in that area to be in dire need of rescue assistance. On Thursday, a SeaWorld rescue team saved a sea lion who had been pulled from the Pacific Ocean, covered in oil.
The animal was brought back to SeaWorld's Oiled Wildlife Care Center and treated. Workers said the sea lion was extremely lethargic and emaciated, suffering from anemia and dehydration. Estimated to be a male, between one and four-years old, it is one of many animals affected by the thousands of gallons of oil flowing from the underground pipeline spill. Reports indicate that oil covered 50 percentof the sea lion's body.
At first, care specialists and veterinarians were cautiously optimistic about his chances for survival, but have reported today that his fever is gone and he is responding well to fluids. It is also being reported that two more sea lions and an elephant seal were due to arrive at the Care Center Friday evening. Of the spill, Santa Barbara County Supervisor Doreen Farr said, "This is just a disaster. We are taking it very seriously." Environmentalists, while participating in the hard job of cleaning up the animals and the area, hope that it will increase opposition to plans for new drilling in the Santa Barbara Channel.