A sea lion found entangled in marine debris near Tofino has been rescued from what would’ve been a painful, slow death, according to the Vancouver Aquarium.

Earlier this month, a rescue crew saved the adult female Steller sea lion after she was found entangled on Cleland Island, off the coast of Tofino.

Dramatic footage of the rescue shows a team of volunteers, led by head aquarium veterinarian Dr. Martin Haulena, first shooting the sea lion with a tranquilizer dart to sedate her.

The crew quickly went to work to cut off the packing strap that was cutting into the animal’s neck, then gave her antibiotics and tagged her.

The sea lion was later observed waking up and swimming away debris-free.

The aquarium says marine debris entanglement is all too common on the west coast of North America, and researchers estimate that about 400 animals are entangled in Pacific Rim National Reserve alone.

Fishing gear lost in the water like nets and ropes as well as plastic straps often end up causing entanglements that can eventually kill an animal, according to the aquarium.

Anyone who sees a marine mammal in distress is asked to report it to the aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at 604-258-7325.