SeaWorld San Diego announced Wednesday that its Animal Rescue Team released a rescued blue-footed booby back into the wild after it spent roughly three weeks rehabilitating at the theme park.
The bird was found injured and lethargic near the Oceanside Pier last month and brought to SeaWorld, where animal care staff treated it for an infection and a wing injury. The bird received antibiotics and regained 40% of its body weight after arriving at the theme park significantly thinner than is healthy for the species.
Animal care staff medically cleared the bird for release and it was returned to the wild Tuesday about five miles off the La Jolla coast.
“It’s very unusual to find blue-footed boobies this far north,” SeaWorld senior animal care specialist Jonathan Dwyer said. “They’re typically found much further south,” along the Pacific coasts of Central and South America.
The rescue team has rescued and rehabilitated more than 1,000 marine animals this year, many of them California sea lions and various species of seals. The team has also rescued and rehabilitated more than 600 marine birds.
SeaWorld San Diego’s rescue team has saved and rehabilitated more than 20,000 animals since the park’s founding in 1964. The theme park chain’s three locations in San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio have rescued more than 36,000 animals combined.