Wayward Sea Lion found miles of ocean on the San Diego Freeway – NBC Los Angeles


A wayward sea lion was rescued Friday morning after he managed to wander the side of a freeway near San Diego’s Fairmount Park neighborhood – and marine life rescuers say it wasn’t the first time that the animal was seen in a particular place.

“We don’t know exactly how it got here, but this animal has been to our rescue center before,” said Eric Ojten of the SeaWorld San Diego Rescue Team. “He was rescued in early November from Harbor Island Drive and was released shortly thereafter and has presented himself in strange situations and places since then. This is the strangest one, though.”

After the sea lion visited at Harbor Drive near the airport, he was taken to SeaWorld for about a week of treatment and then released into the ocean. The following month, he took to the boardwalk in Mission Beach, near a grocery store in Mission Bay and the Point Loma Naval Base.

The young 200-pound male sea lion turned many heads on Friday when he was sighted on the right side of the eastbound lanes of Route 94 at around 9:40 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol. The Good Samaritans who were traveling on the highway called the authorities to report the animal and its dangerous adventure.

“[We received] several calls indicating that the animal was trying to cross the road, ”said CHP public information officer Salvador Castro. “By the time we arrived at the scene, he was in the center of the median of 94 east, west of 805.”

Witnesses tried to stop traffic after seeing the sea lion and the CHP also helped prevent the animal from being hit by a car.

“We took a few breaks to slow the traffic down so the sea lion was not scared and started to come back into the traffic lanes,” Officer Castro said.

CHP called SeaWorld to save the sea lion and their rescue team arrived quickly.

“It was a pretty unique situation,” Otjen recalls. “We don’t often get a call about a sea lion on the highway, so it was kind of an emergency. We got here as fast as we could.”

Using three large nets with tact, the rescue team managed to capture the sea lion and guide it to a large metal cage which they then used to transport it to safety. Otjen said it wasn’t their first rodeo with this particular sea lion since they had saved him from strange places in the past.

Members of the SeaWorld rescue team transported the animal to SeaWorld. A video posted on their Instagram showed the sea lion swimming in their establishment.

It is still unclear how the sea lion traveled so far from the ocean and ended up on the side of the highway.

Authorities did not immediately say whether the animal had any injuries.


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