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Wounded Marin Sea Lion Won’t Be Able To Return To Wild

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Injured Sea Lion

The sea lion called “Silent Knight,” shown during its rehabilitation at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. (CBS)

SAUSALITO (AP/BCN) – A sea lion that was found shot in the face on a Sausalito beach is blind and will not be able to return to the wild.

The roughly 6-year-old male adult sea lion, named for his regal demeanor with a nod to the holiday season, was found on the evening of Dec. 8 at Swede’s Beach in Sausalito suffering from the gunshot wound, center officials said.

Silent Knight’s right eye was destroyed in the shooting, but Marine Mammal Center officials “had guarded hope” until Monday that the left eye could be salvaged, Boehm said.

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, Boehm said.

“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.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)

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