Ronda the Sea Lion

My name is Simone Markoff and I arrived to Lima in Peru to be an intern at ORCA. ORCA is an organization that works with conservation and research of marine mammals. As a part of this they take care of stranded animals and they have been rescuing sea lions, fur seals, dolphins, one otter and penguins even if they not are mammals.

At the moment we have a sea lion called Ronda, she is a South American Sea Lion and her specie is endangered. Ronda was found in South Lima and before she was rescued she had stranded several times. When she came to the center she had problems with her breathing and with her digestive system. She probably got this because she was hit by a human. Some fishermen  in Peru see sea lions as competitors for the fish and try to kill them if they gt the chance.

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When I arrived Ronda had already been at the center for about 3 weeks and she seemed to doing okay, but on my second day here she got problem with breathing again. Me and Sunniva, another intern, monitored her breathing all day. At the night we took her to the vet to get an X-ray of her lungs. It was a bit unusual to walk in with a sea lion in a clinic surrounded by cats and dogs. In the X-ray, we could see that Ronda’s lungs were filled with fluid and that she had small fractures on her ribs, this was probably caused by a hit from humans as well.

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Since we discoved that she had fluid in her lungs,  we have been working harder with Ronda to get her better. We have tube fed her and given her medicines and injections, that is not the easiest thing to do with a strong and intelligent sea lion. She is also is much faster than you think even though she has flippers instead of feet. We have been up in the day, in the middle of the night, early in the morning and late into the night.

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Today Ronda started to eat her fish by herself again. Through the hard work we put in Ronda is now feeling better and I feel that it was worth all the work and hours of missing sleep. This is the kind of important thing that ORCA is working with, they really make a difference for a lot of animals.

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