Another heart wrenching story of good work done by the Marine Mammal Center. On December 8th, locals on Swede's Beach (a tiny cove in Sausalito where incidentally I used to live,) came across a listless and barely moving California sea lion. They called the Marine Mammal Center, who came to its rescue and found that it had been shot in the face with a shot gun. During the few weeks of his recovery the doctors at the center were impressed with the sea lion's stoic nature and apparent refusal to bark, naming him Silent Knight. Turns out that both Silent Knights eyes are ruined and that while he is slowly making a recovery -- he will never be able to be released into the wild again. From San Francisco Examiner:
"But now that the veterinary team has determined the animal is completely blind, the center has to try to find a zoo or aquarium for him since he is not suitable for re-entry to the wild, (center exec director Jeff) Boehm said...Also running this week is an opportunity to have donations to the Marine Mammal Center matched. Apparently members of their board of directors are matching the next $10,000 in donations made.
"The challenge is, a lot of zoos and aquariums are filled to capacity," he said. "The match might not be immediately straightforward, but more and more zoos and aquariums are finding there's tremendous storytelling potential" in an animal like Silent Knight.
He is the ninth marine mammal to be treated for gunshot wounds at the Sausalito-based center this year. There were 19 gunshot victims treated there in 2009, center officials said.
Some people view sea lions and other marine mammals as nuisances to human seafaring, and they are sometimes shot by fishermen.
"His plight is something of interest, and stuns [visitors] when they find how cruel people can be," Boehm said.