Sea lions hurt by chlorine at center waddle back into waves

Jun 3, 2015, 12:56 PM
As a crowd looks on, sea lions injured by chlorine contamination at a rehab center are released in ...
As a crowd looks on, sea lions injured by chlorine contamination at a rehab center are released in Laguna Beach, Calif., Tuesday, June 2, 2015. Police believe someone put chlorine in the water filtration system April 27, at the center, which works to rescue, rehabilitate and release sea lions. (Mark Rightmire/The Orange County Register via AP) MAGS OUT; LOS ANGELES TIMES OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
(Mark Rightmire/The Orange County Register via AP)

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A crowd in Southern California cheered as 14 sea lions injured by chlorine contamination at a rehab center waddled back into the waves.

Mary Beth Steen of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center says most of the 17 animals who got hurt have recovered and were released into the ocean Tuesday at Laguna Beach.

Police believe someone put chlorine in the water filtration system April 27 at the center, which works to rescue, rehabilitate and release sea lions. Authorities are searching for suspects, and a $2,500 reward has been offered in the case.

The chlorine got into one of the facility’s saltwater pools, and sea lions from that area had swollen eyes.

Steen says the remaining three sea lions need further nursing before they can head back to their natural habitat.

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Sea lions hurt by chlorine at center waddle back into waves