When Harrington the emaciated sea lion was rescued, a miraculous recovery was all the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) team could hope for. At eight months, this young California sea lion weighed only 24.3 pounds – as opposed to the 60-70 pounds that an average sea lion pup his age should be. The animal care team was shocked at his state, at how tiny and listless he was. Since then, Harrington’s strength and will to survive was pushed to the limits … but he has made a full 180!

“When the picture came in from the reporting party, the little sea lion pup looked dead,” PMMC shared. Immediately after rescue, the pup was tube fed, rehydrated, and warmed up. His condition was so critical that care teams had to come in throughout the night to feed and rehydrate the fragile animal.


After a week, Harrington finally started to show some awaited signs of improvement. He began to perk up, showed interest in eating fish, and got more active – giving caretakers hope that he would pull through after all. Unfortunately, an infection set the poor pup back again …

Harrington had to be placed in isolation and stay under constant monitoring. “We feared we were going to lose him,” the team shared. “The volunteers at PMMC did what we do best, pull together and refuse to give up.”

It took two months of isolation and special care, but, finally, Harrington was infection-free and ready to get back into the open and play with his friends! “The day he was placed in a pen with other sea lions, the animal care team gathered around and watched, not a dry eye in the place.”

Now, Harrington is doing so much better than ever before. He is competing in the pool for his meals with his friends, which is a big step in his rehabilitation process – demonstrating his foraging skills. “In case you couldn’t tell, Harrington is a big favorite here at our center and has us all wrapped around his little flippers,” the team said.



Harrington was once a dying sea lion pup, struggling for his life – now, he is the beautiful animal he should have always been, learning all the skills a pup like him needs. The animal team taking care of Harrington is confident that he will continue his progress – and, eventually, be able to go back into the ocean, his natural home.

You can help Doris Day Animal Foundation, PMMC’s grantor, by making a donation here. The contributions will fund non-profit causes like PMMC that need assistance in their work for animals.

All image source: Doris Day Animal Foundation (DDAF)/Facebook