Dramatic Sea Lion Rescue on East Pier

This poor fella managed to haul himself up onto the rear deck of Terri Thomas' East Pier home, who then called TMMC. The California sea lion has leptospirosis, a bacterial infection affecting the kidneys—resulting in severe abdominal pain—as evidenced by the way his fins are tucked under his body, aka the Lepto Pose   [photo Terri Thomas]
A team from The Marine Mammal Center manages to get a net around the distressed California sea lion  [photo Katy Boyd]
And nearly has him netted [photo Katy Boyd]
But then the sea lion has a different idea and ends up in the water  [photo Terri Thomas]
Safely landed, the crew pause to assess next moves  [photo Teddie Hathaway]
The delicate task of shifting 52 lbs of sea lion from the rear deck to a waiting pet carrier is a 3-person job  [photo by Teddie Hathaway]
With the sea lion safely deposited in the portable kennel, it's time to wrap up the operation   [photo Katy Boyd]
Meanwhile a crowd has gathered   [photo Katy Boyd]
The now-named Walden is surrounded by well-wishers   [photo Katy Boyd]
And paparazzi (not like this happens every day)   [photo Katy Boyd]
In a procession fit for Egyptian royalty, Walden is carried down the pier   [photo Katy Boyd]
And rather unceremoniously deposited onto the rear of TMMC flatbed truck ..."what the heck?"   [photo Katy Boyd]
Ever thorough, the crew from TMMC take great care to secure their cargo   [photo Katy Boyd]
And away goes Waldo, in Big Ellie (BG ELIE) [photo Teddie Hathaway]
Several days later at TMMC, Walden is eating and resting and has every chance to recover  [photo Larry Clinton]
Dr Sophie Guraski of TMMC checks Walden's chart. He has been eating and is lively, which are both good signs   |  post by Terri Thomas and Jenny Stein  |  photos by Terri Thomas, Teddie Hathaway, Katy Boyd and Larry Clinton   [photo Larry Clinton]

Terri Thomas of East Pier describes how her dog, Thoreau, first spotted a California sea lion in trouble (on Tuesday Oct 16) along with the rescue by The Marine Mammal Center (TMMC) and the eventual naming of the juvenile sea lion, Walden:

“Thoreau saw Walden first (ha!). I was sitting on my usual lounge [on the back deck] and Thoreau started crying, looking at Walden (not barking or growling—strange for him). But then he has always had a connection with seals when we kayak. I could tell right away that Walden wasn’t well and called TMMC. I sent a few photos and they sent Marina out to look at him. By the time we finally got TMMC team there (Doug was kind of the lead guy) we had gathered a bit of a crowd. They carefully netted Walden, who woke up and promptly fell in the water, along with the net. The team then slowly pulled him up and carried him to  the kennel and up to their truck.

I was texting Emily [Terri’s son Dan’s girlfriend] who volunteers at TMMC to tell her what was happening and she told me since I called it in I got to name him. I asked Marina and she said that was true. We went through quite a few names because you can’t use a name again for 10 years and the ones we thought of—Kappi, Slick, Lobo, Henry David—were already in use. Brad [Hathaway] said, ‘How about Walden?’ (fits for me) and that was a keeper. Emily is going to give me updates on Walden’s health.”

Brava, Terri! This is textbook HOW TO Rescue a Wild Marine Animal. Keep this in mind should you ever find yourself in similar circumstances! Click this link TO REPORT A DISTRESSED MARINE MAMMAL or call (415) 289-SEAL  /  (415) 289-7325

The Marin IJ only just reported on how record numbers of California sea lions are suffering an epidemic of leptospirosis, a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection. The disease primarily affects the kidneys which, if not caught in time, is fatal. Marin veterinarians tackle deadly sea lion epidemic. And not just here in Marin County, but also further down the coast to San Luis Obispo: SLO County sea lions hit with potentially deadly infection.

Larry Clinton, who volunteers as a docent at TMMC, had this to say, “This shot [of Waldo immobile on the dock with flippers tucked under the body] shows the Lepto Pose which is a clear sign of leptospirosis. As the articles state, this kidney infection has a high mortality rate, so we should keep our fingers (not flippers) crossed for Walden.” On Friday Larry was able to provide this update, “Walden is resting up at The Marine Mammal Center. He has been eating and is lively, which are both good signs.” Waldo, classified as a male juvenile, has indeed been diagnosed with leptospirosis and malnutrition. The disease is spread by urine, so whenever you see a sea lion on the beach, it’s best to keep a distance of at least 50 feet and keep your dogs away as well.