Five sea lions have been cut free and released back to the sea despite shocking injuries after becoming entangled in fishing nets in the Gulf of California.
Members of Mexico’s National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (Conanp) and the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (Profepa) rescued the California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) in the Gulf of California off the coast of the north-western Mexican state of Sonora.
Three of the five sea lions were pups under one year old, according to the rescuers.
Photos released by Conanp show the marine animals being rescued from the fishing nets before being released back in the sea by experts. They were freed despite the fact that at least one of the sea lions is seen with a gaping wound on its neck that was caused by the fishing nets.
According to Conanp, the California sea lions were caught in nets that were dropped in the water with weights on one end and buoys on the other.
The nets move with the currents to catch different types of fish which are collected by the resistant material that reportedly measures up to 800 metres (2,625 feet) in length.
In Mexico, California sea lions are reportedly considered a protected species.
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