SeaWorld welcomes unexpected sea lion pup amid care for sick mother

ABC News(SAN DIEGO) -- SeaWorld San Diego welcomed an unexpected furry addition early Wednesday morning after rescue teams took in the sea lion pup's sick mother Tuesday afternoon.

Kevin Robinson, a member of SeaWorld's animal care team, and Dr. Kelsey Herrick, a SeaWorld veterinarian, showed off the sea lion pup on Facebook Live just hours after her birth.

When the team of doctors arrived Wednesday morning to check on the sea lion they rescued in Oceanside, they discovered a new addition in the pen where they'd left her.

"This little gem was just hanging out in the pen with mom," Robinson said. "Right now because the mom is so sick she's not doing a great job of being a mom, she's just very tired and not attentive to the care of this animal."

Doctors took x-rays, and examined the pup's heart and lungs.

In an interview with ABC News, SeaWorld's Director of Communications David Koontz said the infant sea lion was born a couple weeks premature and is about 10 pounds, which he said is a good size for her condition.

Koontz confirmed that the mother sea lion exhibited symptoms of domoic acid toxicity, an ocean algae bloom that creates a neurological toxin, which can be treated with lots of hydration.

"She was lethargic and had poor motor skills upon initial assessment," Koontz said of the mother. "It's still early in the process, but our team is to trying to get the toxicity flushed out with lots of hydration."

Until the mother's health improves, the team will act as the pup's caregiver to keep her warm, hydrated and fed. Using a special stomach tube, they feed her sea lion baby milk formula and electrolytes that will give the pup energy and hydration. Overall, the pup has shown improved signs of energy with care and the team is hopeful that the mother could get better in a few days.

"Our goal is to help get mom healthy so that we have the opportunity to get mom and her pup back together," Koontz said.

The pair will bond once the mom regains her health and she will raise the pup from that point on.

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