30 Aug 2016

Tahiti's baby sea lion dies

2:35 pm on 30 August 2016

A baby sea lion that managed to find its way to a remote French Polynesian island has died.

The sea lion, which has been named Fox, is now being cared for on the main island, Tahiti.

Sea lions are not a common sight in the warm, tropical waters of French Polynesia Photo: French Polynesian environment directorate

Dubbed "Fox" by the locals, the sea lion was found on the southern island of Raivavae 10 days ago.

The island does not have a veterinarian so police and nurses were called and the sea lion was taken to the island's hospital where it was kept in a plastic swimming pool filled with salt water.

The sea lion was only 83cm long, weighed 8kg and suffering from dehydration.

It was transported to Tahiti by police where it was treated by veterinarian Olivier Betremieux.

Where the sea lion came from has been the subject of much speculation in French Polynesia. It is suspected that it is from New Zealand, the Galapagos Islands, or South America.

It's suspected the sea lion came from New Zealand, the Galapagos Islands, or South America. Photo: French Polynesian government

Mr Betremieux told Tahiti Info the sea lion was in a poor condition when it first arrived and had to be fed through a gastric tube.

Sea lions are not common in the tropical waters of French Polynesia, and veterinarians believe this one somehow became separated from its mother and swam in the wrong direction, probably from New Zealand - a 4,000km journey.

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