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Rescued Sea Lions Find Home At Miami Seaquarium

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - As the Miami Seaquarium marks its 60th anniversary, the marine park is opening its doors, or should we say tanks, to a pair of west coast transplants.

The Key Biscayne attraction has taken in Berkeley and Monterey, two sea lions from Southern California.

In the past two years there has been a rise in sea lion pup strandings off the coast of California. Berkeley and Monterey, like many stranded sea lion pups, were emaciated, dehydrated and very underweight. Each rescued and rehabilitated sea lion is outfitted with a satellite tag before it is released, if it re-strands itself, officials repeat the same process. Once a sea lion has been rescued two to three times government officials deem it un-releasable and send it to a facility to receive permanent care.

When the Miami Seaquarium opened on September 24, 1955, it was the largest marine-life exhibit in the world at the time of its opening. During the course of sixty years, the park has not only cared for its animals, but has marked milestones with the animals that they they have rescued and rehabbed.

For example, the Miami Seaquarium was the home of the first manatee to be conceived and born in the care of man. The park's manatee rehab facility was the first to document "spontaneous lactation" among female manatees and the first to diagnose a manatee with an MRI test.

Other "firsts" include the first sea lion to undergo cataract surgery and the first neurological surgery performed on an injured manatee using the same rod and pin system used to repair human spinal cord injuries.

"As we commemorate all of our achievements and contributions throughout the last 60 years, we look forward to the future and our continued goal to entertain, educate, conserve and rehabilitate," said the Miami Seaquarium's General Manager Andrew Hertz in a statement.

To commemorate their diamond anniversary, the park if offering a "diamond" discount 19.55 admission (priced for the year the park opened) for a limited time. The discount is open to all Florida residents, it must be purchased online and the offer expires on October 4th, 2015.

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