On December 8th, 2010, Silent Knight, a 7-foot-long California sea lion was discovered listlessly wandering the beach near Golden Gate Market in Sausalito. He had been shot, his right eye blown was blown out, and an X-ray revealed that he had five metal buckshot fragments in his brain, eyes, and mouth. He was taken in by the Marine Mammal Center, which reports that he is now blind. They speculate that a fisherman who was trying to prevent the salmon-loving creature from stealing his catch had probably shot the sea lion.
Unfortunately, Silent Knight’s story is not unusual. Reports of marine animals with gunshot wounds have again been on the rise the last few years, and these attacks are extremely difficult to investigate. His caretakers report that Silent Knight has perked up considerably since coming to the Center. He consumes 7 pounds of herring a day, barks often, and has even attempted to chase fish in his pool.
The Marine Mammal Center, former home of other newsworthy marine mammals like Sgt. Nevis (another gunshot victim) and Astro (Read about Astro: The Steller Sea Lion on the Sylvan Dell webpage) makes it its mission to rescue and rehabilitate sick and injured animals at its state-of-the-art lab near San Francisco, California.
If you are interested in learning more about what to do if you find a wild animal in need of help, check out Baby Owl’s Rescue by Jennifer Keats Curtis, illustrated by Laura Jacques. Additional resources are found in the “For Creative Minds” section in the back of the book and in the online teaching activities.