Packing straps, nets, ropes and wires — these are all things Vancouver Aquarium’s head vet Dr. Martin Haulena is untangling from sea lions.
“There might be 250 to 400 sea lions at any one time that have some kind of garbage on them.”
Last week a team rescued a female Steller sea lion from a packing strap that was tangled around her neck.
But this is only one example of what Haulena calls a growing problem.
“It’s absolutely horribly devastating to watch what is happening to these animals. A lot of the animals we are dealing with, for example the one we just rescued had a packing strap digging into her neck. It would have been there for weeks or months just digging and digging in. It kind of does this sawing motion.”
Disentangling the animals is not cheap either.
“Boat chartering costs, at least four or five people from the aquarium travelling over and the drug costs are large. I mean we’re looking at $450 to $600 an animal. It can really easily amount up to between $4000 and $8000 a sea lion.”
He says the best way to protect these animals is to clean up before leaving the beach.