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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 November, 2003, 12:30 GMT
Leaf munching sea lion saved
Phoebe the sea lion
Phoebe just wouldn't leave those leaves alone...
A greedy sea lion which fell ill after gorging on leaves has been saved by Merseyside vets for the second time.

Phoebe - who lives at Chester Zoo - swallowed 6kg of willow leaves.

Vets from the University of Liverpool saved her life by cutting her stomach open and removing the foliage.

It comes two years after they operated on Phoebe previously when she swallowed a large number of stones.

Professor Barrie Edwards, who carried out the operations, said: "As with other animals, they can eat strange things that are present in their environment.

'Doing well'

"In this case, when all pebbles in the vicinity of her pool had been removed, she turned her attention to the leaves."

The operation to save the Californian sea lion took about an hour to complete.

She was placed under anaesthetic and the leaves were removed at the university's animal hospital in Leahurst, Wirral.

Other animals treated at the hospital have included the racehorse You'll Never Walk Alone which was injured at the Grand National.

A spokeswoman for Chester Zoo said: "Phoebe is doing very well.

"She is recuperating in the nursery pool and jumps around at meal time looking for fish so we can tell she is back to her old self.

"She is as happy as Larry and will probably go back into the main pool tomorrow."

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