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Mexican effort to untangle sea lions from fishing lines expanding

This Nov. 10, 2016 photo released by Mexico's office for environmental protection (PROFEPA) shows a sea lion whose neck was injured by fishing nets, center, after it was released back into the wild in Espiritu Santo, Mexico. PROFEPA says their program has successfully operated on seven sea lions in the area and is training personnel from the states of Sonora and Baja California, to extend the program to other areas. (Christian Vizl/PROFEPA via AP)

This Nov. 10, 2016 photo released by Mexico's office for environmental protection (PROFEPA) shows a sea lion whose neck was injured by fishing nets, center, after it was released back into the wild in Espiritu Santo, Mexico. PROFEPA says their program has successfully operated on seven sea lions in the area and is training personnel from the states of Sonora and Baja California, to extend the program to other areas. (Christian Vizl/PROFEPA via AP)  (Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Mexican experts successfully sedated and operated on three sea lions to remove fishing lines that had threatened to strangle the marine mammals, officials said Tuesday.

Mexico's office for environmental protection said the program has now successfully operated on a total of seven sea lions in the area around the island of Espiritu Santo near the Baja California resort of La Paz.

The animals are sedated with acoustically monitored darts, anesthesia and special procedures to allow the animals to be immediately returned to the wild.

The fishing lines often cut deeply into the sea lions' necks.

The office said it is training personnel from the states of Sonora and Baja California to extend the program to other areas.

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Sea lions are considered a protected species in Mexico, but not endangered.

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