Nine orphaned sea lions rescued by a Peruvian environmental organisation were released into the wild on Friday (14 October).

The charity Organisation for Research and Conservation of Aquatic Animals (ORCA) cared for the seven-month-old animals after they lost their mothers.

The five females and four males have now been set free on the Palomino Islands, a few miles off the coast of Callao, the country's main port.

After months of rehabilitation, the pups were loaded into pet carriers and placed on a boat to take them to sea.

They eagerly dived into the water near the small island reserve where hundreds of other sea lions live.

ORCA's head Carlos Yaipen warned that their natural environment is being gravely damaged by over-fishing, making the animals more vulnerable than ever.

"We have approached the shores of the Palomino islands to free nine young sea lions. They became orphans after their mothers were killed off the coast of Lima," he said.

"Sadly because of over-fishing, the animals' health is being badly affected."