Nursed back to health, the pup prefers its rescuers to a life in the ocean.
VIDEO: You Shore I’ve Got To Go? Adorable Rescued Sea Lion Doesn’t Want To Go Free
Argentine authorities released a sea lion pup into the wild after it was found alone and required treatment.
The sea lion was found in poor condition by people who spotted it on the shores of Bahía San Blas.
The Provincial Agency for Sustainable Development and the Mundo Marino Foundation worked together to save the animal, the Argentine government said on its website.
It was then put under the supervision of veterinarians in the eastern Argentine province of Buenos Aires.
Experts from the development agency supervised the pup’s recovery with the help of veterinarian Juan Pablo Loureiro, head of the Mundo Marino Foundation. The Mundo Marino is the largest aquarium in the country.
After treatment and routine examinations were carried out at the foundation, it was decided the pup was suitably recovered and able to feed by itself if released back into the wild.
As a result, carers reintegrated the pup into the nearest sea lion colony at the Reserva Natural de Usos Múltiples (Natural Reserve of Multiple Uses) at Anegada Bay, on the southeast side of the island De los Riachos.
The location was close to where the sea lion pup was originally found. In addition, the area has a plentiful supply of fish.
Argentine Naval Prefecture officials also helped to return the animal to its natural habitat.
The footage shows officials arriving at the beach in a dinghy before removing the sea lion in a crate and taking it ashore. They then open a hatch and the pup waddles onto the sand and explores its new environment.
The pinniped, which means “fin footed” in Latin, follows one of its helpers, who has to back away and show disinterest, before the sea lion examines the landscape and waddles ahead. Sea lions are able to walk on land by rotating their hind flippers.
The South American sea lion can grow up to 9.8 feet in length and weigh up to 771 pounds from feasting on a diet consisting mainly of fish. Also known as the Patagonian sea lion, breeding colonies exist throughout the continent, including Argentina, Peru, Brazil and the Falkland Islands.
Outside their breeding season, individual South American sea lions, usually males, can venture far from their normal territory, according to the Seal Conservation society. Some have been found as far afield as the South Pacific.
The species can live for about 20 years. Threats to their existence include climate change and becoming the bycatch of fisheries.
Edited by Fern Siegel and Kristen Butler