Silent Knight Adjusts to New Home at the San Francisco Zoo

Last December, a sea lion was found at Swede’s Beach and named Silent Knight in honor of the Christmas season and the marine mammal’s royal bearing. Silent Knight, who was found blinded with around six metal buckshot bullets in his head, was brought for rehabilitation at the center in the Marin Headlands. His caretakers were concerned that he would have to be euthanized if he could not find a home, as his condition made it impossible for him to survive in the wild.

A New Home…

The San Francisco zoo lent a hand, investing $125,000 in the renovation of an 85,000-gallon pool, creating a home for both Silent Knight and another blinded sea lion Henry.

“It’s really like righting a wrong,” Jim Oswald of the Marine Mammal Center said. “It certainly is a second chance at life at a home where they will get proper care.”

The two sea lions get along very well, and have both learned how to eat; trainers jingle yellow balls on the end of a pole in order to direct the mammal’s towards their food.

…And an Old Plight

Silent Knight is certainly not the first marine mammal to be found injured in such a way. Officials explain that despite the fact that the animals are protected by the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, many fisherman act violently when the sea lions become competition.

“Ten percent of the animals that come into our care are impacted by humans in a very direct way,” explained the executive director of the mammal center Jeff Boehm. “Many of them we can rehabilitate and get back into the wild. That was not the case with Silent Knight and now he can be here to be an ambassador to tell the story of their plight.”

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