The Americas

Mexico plans to expand program to untangle sea lions

  • This Nov. 10, 2016 photo released by Mexico's office for environmental protection (PROFEPA) shows a sea lion after it was untangled from fishing lines which severely injured its neck, as it is released back into the wild in Espiritu Santo, Mexico. PROFEPA says their program to untangle sea lions has successfully operated on seven of the animals 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 after it was untangled from fishing lines which severely injured its neck, as it is released back into the wild in Espiritu Santo, Mexico. PROFEPA says their program to untangle sea lions has successfully operated on seven of the animals 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)  (The Associated Press)

  • This Nov. 10, 2016 photo released by Mexico's office for environmental protection (PROFEPA) shows PROFEPA workers releasing a sea lion after freeing it from fishing lines which injured its neck, in Espiritu Santo, Mexico. PROFEPA says the 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 PROFEPA workers releasing a sea lion after freeing it from fishing lines which injured its neck, in Espiritu Santo, Mexico. PROFEPA says the 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)  (The Associated Press)

  • 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)  (The Associated Press)

Mexico says it has successfully sedated and operated on three sea lions to remove fishing lines that that had threatened to strangle the marine mammals.

Mexico's office for environmental protection says the program has now successfully operated on a total of seven sea lions in the area around the island of Espiritu Santo, in 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 Tuesday it is training personnel from the states of Sonora and Baja California, to extend the program to other areas.

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