Bode, a sea lion pup who was rescued in March by the Pacific Marine Mammal Center and adopted by the Laguna Board of Realtors and affiliates "Meals for Seals" sponsorship program, has been released back into the wild at Crescent Bay.
Debbie MacCarter, an animal care supervisor and development coordinator at the Center, said the pup was malnourished and wounded upon arrival at the Center, where he was placed in the Intensive Care Unit and treated appropriately.
"After several days of rest in our heated nursery unit, nutrient- and calorie-rich fish smoothie [feedings] and extra fluids to battle dehydration, Bode began growing stronger," she said. "Pretty soon he was eating well and regularly on his own, putting on pounds and ready to go in the pool where he and his poolmates have plenty of room to swim, play and dive for fish.
"Now that he has completely his rehabilitation and is healthy and strong, he is ready to return to the wild."
The sponsorship program is part of the Board of Realtors' annual animal care fundraiser, which benefits the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter, Blue Bell Foundation for Cats and Matthew Wheaton's Pet Rescue Center in addition to mammal center.
Started 14 years ago by Caroline Haines, the fundraiser was a means of raising money for the animal facilities devastated by the 1997 mudslides.
"They needed help and no one was raising money for them at the time," Haines said. "I love seals and sea lions, and that's why it's so important to have them be a part of this fundraiser."