Sea lion in peril

Officials on Vancouver Island are planning a rescue operation to save a sea lion with a band wrapped tightly around its neck.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says it will launch a rescue of the sea lion in Cowichan Bay in the coming days.

The DFO has been monitoring the animal's condition for a few days and plans to tranquilize it to remove the potentially fatal band.

"It appears to be a packing band that it has around its neck, and those can be lethal," said DFO officer Paul Cottrell. "We're looking at whether we may be able to get out and hopefully successfully dart this animal and remove this packing band, because it will be lethal, and it's really a slow, inhumane death.

The sea lion is one of hundreds that have caused quite a stir in the seaside community as hundreds of the marine mammals have made a home on commercial fishing docks in the community in recent weeks, following the flow of chum salmon from the Cowichan and Koksilah rivers.

Tourists haven't been too put off by the sea lions, though, with many saying they've travelled to the area just to get a glimpse of the massive marine mammals.

- with files from CTV Vancouver Island

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