SeaWorld Sends More Specialists to Santa Barbara Oil Spill

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An oil-covered sea lion from the Santa Barbara oil spill being cleaned by SeaWorld San Diego staff. Photo credit: Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld San Diego

Three SeaWorld specialists were assisting with recovery efforts Tuesday following an oil spill last week near Santa Barbara as several oil-coated sea lions and elephant seals were being cared for at the San Diego park.

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On Monday, a third member of the park’s Animal Rescue Team was sent to assist with marine mammal rehabilitation efforts at the Refugio Beach oil spill. Assistant curator Mike Price joined fellow animal specialists Nick Northcraft and Bill Winhall and others from the Oiled Wildlife Care Network’s Unified Command working to rescue and treat oiled wildlife, according to a SeaWorld statement. Numerous other workers remained on standby.

Four California sea lions doused as up to 105,000 gallons of oil spilled near Refugio Beach were brought to the park Sunday night, but one has since died. Personnel at SeaWorld’s Oiled Wildlife Care Center in San Diego were caring for six sea lions and two elephant seals that were said to be in “guarded condition.”

A male sea lion sent to SeaWorld San Diego coated in crude oil on Thursday has also died. Park officials said a necropsy would be conducted to determine the cause of its death.

SeaWorld’s Oiled Wildlife Care Center has the capacity to house 20 sea lions or other pinnipeds.

—City News Service

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