8 sea lions return to Keys attraction after Hurricane Irma

Posted at 6:46 AM, Nov 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-16 06:46:55-05

ISLAMORADA, Fla. (AP) — Eight sea lions have returned home to a marine attraction in the Florida Keys after being evacuated ahead of Hurricane Irma.

RELATED:More Hurricane Irma coverage | Keys slow to recover from Irma

The sea lions arrived back at Theater of the Sea following a two-month stay at a marine mammal facility near Sarasota.

Theater of the Sea curator Beverly Osborne said Wednesday the sea lions were evacuated because they are primarily terrestrial marine mammals, and there was a risk they might be hit by flying debris.

The storm damaged the attraction's sea lion habitat, as well as other facilities, but personnel have rebuilt most impacted facilities.

Theater of the Sea, which has reopened to the public following the early September storm, began operations in 1946 and is the nation's second-oldest marine attraction.