The Marine Mammal Center says it’s finding many animals entangled in trash on Central Coast beaches.
Over the weekend, an entangled and malnourished sea lion was rescued from Avila Beach.
Ocean trash impacts about 10 percent of the patients The Marine Mammal Center rescues.
Entanglements are a huge problem and folks sometimes run into this on our own beaches.
"Frequently, I do see sea lions with hooks, fishing line, fishing hooks, embedded in their fins and I have seen one around the neck," said Mary Robinson, owner of Morro Bay Stand Up Paddleboarding.
Cesky the sea lion was also met with the same unfortunate fate over the weekend at Olde Port Beach. She was found with a yellow plastic packaging strap around her neck and she was very skinny.
The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito put her under anesthesia to remove it and treat the wounds.
"We’ve seen a general increase in the number of animals that are entangled every year," said Dr. Kara Field, veterinarian at The Marine Mammal Center.
The Marina Mammal Center says last year, the center responded to approximately 60 seals and sea lions suffering from negative human interaction, like entanglement in ocean debris.
So far this year, the center has responded to more than 30 marine mammals faced with the same misfortune.
"When the entanglement comes around their neck, it cuts in very deeply to the skin and then into the deeper tissue like a muscle and in some cases it can get so severe, it can actually cut into the airway," Dr. Field added.
The animal can often die from this. But after a brush with death herself, Cesky is on the road to recovery thanks to antibiotics.
The Marine Mammal Center encourages people to be mindful of their plastic use since it’s the most common type of trash found in the ocean.