Bruce, an adult male sea lion, was found on the rocks at Emerald Bay Beach on Jan. 22 with severe bite wounds possibly from a great white shark. He is making a speedy recovery at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, which treats injured and sick marine mammals, at its Laguna Beach facility. (Wendy Saewert / January 23, 2014)

A malnourished sea lion with severe bite marks — possibly left by a great white shark — is making a strong recovery at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach.

The nonprofit that treats sick and injured marine mammals received a call from a beachgoer at Emerald Bay Beach on Jan. 22, according to a news release.

Bruce, an adult male sea lion, was found on the rocks with bite wounds underneath his right front flipper and left chest area.

The rescue team, led by Animal Care Supervisor Dean Gomersall, successfully captured the injured mammal and safely transported him back to the center for evaluation and treatment.

"You could tell from the size and pattern of the marks that it points to a great white," Animal Care Director Michele Hunter said, according to the release. "It's not often that we see animals inflicted with severe bite wounds, and when we do, it's not always a happy ending. But so far, so good."

Bruce is progressing well and is expected to return to the ocean once his injuries have sufficiently healed and staff veterinarian Richard Evans assigns him a clean bill of health.

The public can visit Bruce and the other four sea lions at the center in the red barn at 20612 Laguna Canyon Road. The center and gift shop are open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

— Bryce Alderton

Twitter: @aldertonbryce