portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting oregon & cascadia

animal rights

Pirate Healers Treat Sick Sea Lion Stranded on the Coast

While the community was expected to sit back and watch helplessly, a young sea lion lay dying on the coast near Seaside. Authorities were adamant that no treatment would be provided: They decreed that nature should take its course with the animal, and that they felt they needed to "keep humans out of the equation." This might have made more sense, had the sea lion not been sick and malnourished in the first place due to human interference in the ocean ecosystem. And nothing could be more hypocritical than the suggestion that humans must keep their compassion "out of the equation" on the coast while other humans have inserted themselves violently into the equation on the nearby Columbia - by killing sea lions for eating fish.
Viva DIY
Viva DIY
In Cascadia, though, we like to think for ourselves. We follow our hearts more faithfully than we follow the dictates of people who consider themselves to be "The Authorities." And so the people of Seaside began bringing fresh water to the sea lion dubbed Sadie by the nearby community. Someone brought a water bowl, and others brought jugs of water to replenish her each day. She gratefully drank the water to stave off the kidney and liver dysfunctions that normally set in when an animal this sick cannot get to the water. Still, she struggled with a severe bacterial infection. In California, an animal stranded in this condition would have been brought to one of several marine mammal centers to be treated with antibiotics. In Oregon, however, the laws are different. Anyone wanting to treat the animal is expected to get permission from the NMFS, according to sources we spoke with. And in this case, NMFS was denying that permission. Since Sadie is not an endangered species, she was allowed to suffer.

Unwilling and unable to sit back and watch from a distance while an animal suffered for days with an easily treatable condition, a crew of compassionate pirates decided to act. After doing some extensive research into the matter, they procured a bottle of antibiotics and a handful of syringes, and set out for the coast. Stealthily, they approached the animal, only to find another person already there. The parties all eyed each other suspiciously, ready to defend each other and the animal. And then, they discovered that they were all there for the same purpose! This woman had also come with a bottle of antibiotics and a needle, and was also ready to treat the sea lion. To everyone's surprise, they also found evidence of Tetracycline in Sadie's water dish. Who knows how many people in the community had decided to treat this sea lion under cover of darkness.

After some discussion, it was decided that Sadie should receive the injection, and that it should be followed up by one of the party. So the pirates deftly and gently approached the animal, who seemed to understand that they were there to help. After some initial resistance, she allowed them to approach and the injection was successfully given. Sadie has been treated for her infection by a compassionate community. During the course of treatment, at one point a man approached to demand that everyone leave the area and avoid treating the animal. He was asked by the party to leave. I believe he was probably a volunteer, there to monitor the animal for the NMFS, but I can't be sure.

There are those who believe that the administration of medications to this animal by "unprofessionals," under wild conditions on the coast, was wrong. They have labeled such actions "harassment," and have accused those who would do such a thing of stressing the animal. They also point out that antibiotics are tricky business, and the correct type and dosage are essential. Indeed. However, no "professionals" were willing to step in and do the job - at least not officially. And so, there was little choice. Sadie would have died if she had not been treated. It would have been nice to see her treated by a vet in a rescue facility, but again, no one stepped up to do that for her. Therefore, it was time for some Pirate DIY.

And now here's the rest of the story: The treatment was successful!

Sadie appears to have recovered. After a long, rough battle, Sadie's illness began to subside. Her worrisome nasal discharges and other symptoms disappeared, and she grew healthier. At approximately 4:30am on Saturday morning, having regained her strength and vigor, Sadie swam off into the ocean.

Yay team! Viva la Pirates!

Here's to the community of Seaside, to the mystery woman with the syringe, and to the Pirates, for not taking No for an answer! YES!

homepage: homepage: http://sealiondefensebrigade.org