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Na'au the female California sea lion is shown stranded at Knightsen Elementary School on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010 in Oakley, Calif. Two volunteers rescued Na'au and are driving her back to the Sausalito facility. (Courtesy photo: The Marine Mammal Center)

SAUSALITO -- Nau'au, the sea lion rescued in Knightsen on Saturday after swimming up the Delta and walking onto a school campus, will be euthanized due to extreme brain damage, said a spokesman for the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito.

The female California sea lion suffers from toxic algae poisoning in the past, causing her to require rescue in May and July in Santa Cruz County. A sea lion can be poisoned if it eats fish -- its main diet -- that have consumed toxic algae. The illness slowly disintegrates the marine mammals' brains and affects their navigational skills.

After being rescued Saturday, there was hope she would survive because she was eating and moving in her pen, center spokesman Jim Oswald said.

But a full medical work-up, including an MRI and EKG, determined the brain damage was too severe for Nau'au to survive either in the wild or in captivity.

Roman Gokhman covers public safety. Contact him at 925-945-4780. Follow him at Twitter.com/RomiTheWriter.



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