Two hefty and healthy sea lions – nicknamed HC and Schnelly – were released back into the ocean just before sunset July 24 at Rodeo Beach at the Marin Headlands.

The Marine Mammal Center Special Rescue Operations team rescued a 244-pound male California sea lion July 21 from pilings at Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey.

“The animal was spotted with an entanglement around his neck, and the Center’s SRO team mobilized both on land and in the water in order to rescue him,” said Jim Oswald, the Center’s public relations manager.

Once detained, the sea lion was treated at The Marine Mammal Center’s hospital in Sausalito. Veterinarians removed a circular rubber band-type material that had sliced into the sea lion’s neck by about an inch.

Veterinarians estimate the animal, HC, had been living with the entanglement for at least two months, Oswald said.

“After monitoring for a few days, no other heath issues were present and HC went back to the wild along with another sea lion patient named Schnelly,” Oswald said.

The Center, a nonprofit, operates on public funding, with more than 35,000 members nationwide and has already rescued more than 320 marine mammals this year.

In 2012, The Center was able to rehabilitate and return more than half of its 504 patients back to the wild, and has rescued 17,500 marine mammals since 1975.

Run for the Seals, a four-mile run or two-mile walk in the Marin Headlands, is set for Saturday, Aug. 17. Proceeds benefit patients like HC and Schnelly. For more information or to register, visit

The hospital is free to visit and is open to the public daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The center’s newly rebuilt headquarters gives visitors an opportunity to learn about marine mammals through viewing areas and educational exhibits.

For more information, visit

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