FLORENCE, Ore. - Rescuers were able to free a sea lion tangled in a trawl net along the Oregon Coast.
The sub-adult sea lion was likely a female about 4 years old, found tangled near the rocks near the Sea Lion Caves outside Florence Thursday.
Oregon State University spokesman Todd Simmons said the Marine Mammal Stranding Network quickly got permission from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and went to work, after closing the area to visitors.
The netting was wrapped around the animal's head and several feet of trailing net were trapped between rocks, giving the animal only about a 10-foot radius of movement, recuse coordinator Jim Rice said. The sea lion had been stuck there about a day and may have been tangled up for about a week.
Rescuers feared the animal would have soon died from starvation or trauma.
The animals can be aggressive and rescuers first used plywood to create a barrier -- which helped when the animal tried to bite them, Simmons said. A veterinarian was able to lightly sedate the sea lion while the netting was removed.
Crews released the net and said injured tissue in the animals neck bounced back and regained normal appearance virtually immediately.
Check the Sea Lion Caves webcam
Rice said it was lucky that the animal had become stuck at the Caves, and that entangled animals are typically able to get away before they can be helped.
"I've been there for 50 years, and this is the first time weve ever had an animal trapped like that and the first time for a rescue, so its very exciting," caves co-owner Steve Saubert said.
Soon after the rescue, the animal was safely swimming with dozens of others in the waters at the Caves.