A sea lion named Roscoe that Pacific Marine Mammal Center employees nursed back to health was seen off the Newport Beach coast and is making progress, the Laguna Beach-based center reported in a news release.
Rescue teams spotted Roscoe, who was originally stranded in Newport Beach, and checked his body weight. He was one of four sea lions who had a satellite tag so mammal center staff could track his status in the ocean.
"We were pleased to see Roscoe doing so well in the wild," executive director Keith Matassa said in the release. "He's been on his own now for a few months, and the fact that he looks healthy and has a good weight indicates that he is doing well out there and that our efforts are allowing him to be successful."
Roscoe is one of several hundred sea lion pups stranded on Orange County beaches since January, many of them dehydrated and malnourished.
Mammal center staff members have helped many pups regain strength and will release two females into the wild this weekend, the release said.
Grace and Evanora came emaciated to the center on Laguna Canyon Road earlier this year and staff members have nursed them back to health, according to the release.
Grace entered the center's care Feb. 26, weighing just 26 pounds, less than half of normal weight for a sea lion her age, and was in critical condition, the release said.
It took her two months to eat on her own.
Evanora entered the center on March 13 at 22 pounds, starved and with lacerations on her face, the release said.
The center has released more than 120 sea lions into the ocean, but many are still recovering.
From January through April, the center had 10 times more patients and housed 167 pups at one time, according to the release.
"We have many animals who were on the brink of death, but fought hard for their lives, and are now making their way back home," animal care director Michele Hunter said in the release.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is still figuring out what caused the strandings, the release said.
The mammal center is going through 300 pounds of fish per day, which adds a significant cost.
Visit the center's website at http://www.pacificmmc.org for more information.