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On Thursday May 20, a team from the Marine Mammal Institute was able to successfully remove a plastic packing band that had been wrapped around the neck of an adult male California sea lion. This was our first attempt at removing debris from a sea lion on a beach.
We've also recently been successful with desentanglement efforts on a Steller sea lion at Sea Lion Caves and at our recently deployed disentanglement capture cage at the Bayfront in Newport.
Unfortunately, packing band entanglements are increasingly common with sea lions along the West Coast. These plastic strips are used in the packaging of many products, particularly frozen fish used for bait, and end up in the water where unsuspecting sea lions may encounter them, getting them stuck around their necks where they cut into the animal's flesh, causing a painful and potentially life threatening condition.
Please be careful to properly dispose of trash to be sure it doensn't end up in the water. And always cut packing bands to LOOSE THE LOOP!