10/30/2013 04:06 EDT

Sea Lions Rescued On Vancouver Island (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

A Vancouver Aquarium veterinarian saved two sea lions from choking after the mammals' necks were caught up in fish-packing straps last Thursday.

Dr. Martin Haulena and a rescue team were scouring the rocks in Barkley Sound looking for sea lions that had been caught in debris when he noticed two animals with the straps wound tightly around their throats, said a Wednesday news release.

The veterinarian shot the mammals with a tranquilizer and immediately began tending to them. He was able to disentangle one of the sea lions but he couldn't completely free the other one as its skin had grown over the strap.

Check out some photos of the sea lion rescue in Barkley Sound. The story continues below the slideshow:

Sea Lions Rescued On Vancouver Island

The rescue team later administered a second drug to reverse the effects of the tranquilizer and monitored the animals until they revived and could swim again.

"Marine debris poses serious threats to marine mammals, especially sea lions," Haulena said in a statement.

The rescue came as part of project to develop better procedures for freeing sea lions that have become entangled in debris and fishing equipment.

This isn't the first Vancouver Aquarium marine mammal rescue in recent weeks. Aquarium staff saved a sea otter On Oct. 18 after it was found near Tofino with gunshot wounds on Oct. 18.

And on Oct. 12, the aquarium released 11 rehabilitated seal pups back into the wild at South Surrey's Crescent Beach

Like this article? Follow our Facebook page

Or follow us on Twitter