A group of hecklers shouted and threw rocks at SeaWorld employees as they tried to rescue a wounded sea lion in Ocean Beach Sunday morning.
“Thank goodness [the rocks] didn’t make contact and no one was injured, including the animal, but it definitely created a hostile environment where we no longer felt safe,” said SeaWorld employee Kourtney Sanders, according to ABC 7 news.
The rescue team eventually returned with police and was able to bring the injured mammal to shore, where it was treated by marine biologists, notes ABC 7.
SeaWorld employees have reportedly been facing a growing amount of harassment as of late, resulting from relentless criticism and backlash over a 2013 anti-SeaWorld documentary film, Blackfish, which slammed the theme park for the methods they used to capture and keep orcas and other marine creatures.
PETA has been the main force behind the SeaWorld criticism.