On Friday, Feiro received a call from a staff member at Nippon Paper Industries, USA, on the Port Angeles harbor. A sea lion had beached itself near their plant, and seemed to be in distress. The sea lion was identified as a Steller sea lion. It was lethargic, but responsive to noises and people. We put up signs and caution tape to indicate that this is a protected marine mammal and to please keep away while it rests.
Feiro staff and volunteers made daily observations since Friday. The reports are sent to the WDFW and the NOAA Regional Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator. On Sunday, the animal had a visual examination from a qualified marine mammal veterinarian. He observed what looked like pus or another exudate streaming from the nose. At that point, the sea lion was starting to look emaciated and not very responsive to stimuli. However, the sea lion has hung on. When the high tide came up to his position, he did reposition himself on the beach to a more protected location.
The animal is very large and naturally aggressive, and is not a candidate for intervention at this time. Because we do not have an exact medical diagnosis, any intervention, such as feeding, may also cause more injury than help. The best thing we can do to give it a chance is to continue to leave it be so it can rest.
Beached sea lion Photo Credit: Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News