The 14 sea lions were just very thankful to escape their chlorine infested pool, oblivious of the crowds watching them. They went directly to the sand on the shore and dived into the cold ocean water as they were released by the Laguna Beach-based mammal center about 8:30 a.m., KTLA reported.
“Things went amazingly well; all the animals went out,” said Keith Matassa of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. “It was such a great thing to see the closure and see those animals return to the wild healthy.”
This year’s sea lion stranding was the worst so far and Tuesday’s event was the biggest release in the center’s long history according to its officials.
Someone may have inadvertently poured chlorine upon entering the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in late April contaminating one of the several pools, the Laguna Beach Police Department said.
The contamination affected 15 of the 17 sea lions that were undergoing treatment in the pool with different extent of corneal infections. It was just a matter of two days after the animals were released before the poisoning happened, Matassa said.