Shedd Offers Home to Blind Sea Lion Pup

Animal blinded by gunshots

Thursday, Jan 17, 2013  |  Updated 9:05 PM CDT
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A 1-year-old sea lion named Cruz lost his eyesight after suffering a gunshot wound to the face. He and another sea lion, Tanner, made their public debut recently at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium. NBC Chicago's Rob Stafford reports.

NBCChicago.com

A 1-year-old sea lion named Cruz lost his eyesight after suffering a gunshot wound to the face. He and another sea lion, Tanner, made their public debut recently at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium. NBC Chicago's Rob Stafford reports.

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The Shedd Aquarium is providing a home for two new sea lions, including a pup that was found blinded from gunshot wounds.

The 1-year and 9-month-old male pup was found on a Santa Cruz beach last summer -- hence his name, Cruz -- and nursed back to health by The Marine Mammal Center in California before finding a permanent home in Chicago.

The Shedd, known for its rehabilitation facilities, will continue Cruz's care. The pup lost both eyes and still has metal shards in his skull from the bullets.

The trainers will use audio cues to train the blind pup, instead of the visual targets typically used to train sea lions.

Officials say sea lions are often shot for target practice, or by fishermen who object to the animals raiding their nets.

The other adult male sea lion, Tanner, is part of a government effort to relocate sea lions from the Bonneville Dam area in the Pacific Northwest in order to protect the salmon population.

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