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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Breadstick the Sea Lion, Whose Triumphant Return To Nature Was Documented By SF Weekly, Is Back In Captivity

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2009 at 11:30 AM

click to enlarge Wayne Fenton and Breadstick - WAYNE FENTON
  • Wayne Fenton
  • Wayne Fenton and Breadstick
As documented in this week's SF Weekly cover story, Too Cute to Shoot, a former army tank commander named Wayne Fenton recently spent $400 and a whole lot of time and energy rescuing a one-eyed, starving sea lion named Breadstick. (Meanwhile, as the story explains, there's a full-fledged sea lion infestation going on in San Francisco Bay and elsewhere up and down the West Coast).

Anyhow, Breadstick, who had been shot in the eye, washed up in Monterey Bay where Fenton and his visiting German wife found the creature. They eventually helped load the runty yearling into a rescue kennel, which a volunteer then transported to the Marine Mammal Center's hospital in Sausalito. There, Breadstick underwent eye removal surgery and feasted on fish smoothies until she was healthy enough to be released back into the wild.

click to enlarge Breadstick's brief return to the wild - WAYNE FENTON
  • Wayne Fenton
  • Breadstick's brief return to the wild
Fenton went along on the trip to see Breadstick off, and watching her leap off the side of the Kitty Kat was a heart-warming and triumphant occasion. Breadstick swam in circles and kissed another sea lion on the nose, then headed for the islands.

But unfortunately, Breadstick couldn't cut it in the wild. Just 10 days after her release, volunteers discovered her up at Pajaro Dunes in Watsonville, where she stranded herself for the second time. "She came in weighing less than she did the first time we found her," said Marine Mammal stranding intern Enosh Baker. "But she's clearly on the up and up."  

Breadstick will remain at the Marine Mammal Center until she is healthy enough to be tossed back into nature. She'll also be getting a visit from her old friend Wayne Fenton.

"You shocked the hell out of me," Fenton said upon learning that Breadstick was back at the center. "I'm going to try to go up there and see Breadstick as soon as I can."   

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Ashley Harrell

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