Sea lions returned to the ocean in Calif.

Dec. 7, 2011 at 2:56 PM
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SAUSALITO, Calif., Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Wildlife workers in California say they've returned three sea lions to the ocean after their recuperation from illness at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito.

Dubbed Leopico, Cranberry Sauce and Teahupoo, the sea lions were released Tuesday from cages at Rodeo Beach and eased into the surf, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Leopico bravely went first, while Cranberry Sauce and Teahupoo slowly ventured into the water together, Jim Oswald, spokesman for the center, said.

"They did sort of a buddy system thing," he said.

The three were found near Moss Landing in Monterey. Leopico and Cranberry Sauce had bacteria infections that can lead to kidney problems, while Teahupoo was malnourished, Oswald said.

Nursed back to health over the last month, the animals have been tagged but will not be tracked, he said.

"We hope that they have a long and fruitful life out in the ocean," he said.

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