SAN DIEGO – Officials and experts were baffled after a sea lion crossed four lanes along a busy highway and managed to reach a middle before being safely rescued Friday morning.
Like a character in a street soap opera “The Californian” Sketch On “Saturday Night Live”, the sea lion took State Route 94 and nearly reached Interstate 805.
“Exactly how the beast ended up on the highway is still unclear,” SeaWorld San Diego said in a statement.
Park said the SeaWorld San Diego Rescue team used the net to deter the marine mammal, estimated at 200 pounds, before being taken to the SeaWorld San Diego Rescue Center for health evaluation and possible rehabilitation.
The park said the sea lion was on the right side of the eastern side of the freeway before crossing the midline. The California Highway Patrol said in a statement that motorists reported marine mammals in lanes eastbound of Route 94, which began as a 19th century trail To and from Arizona, the north-south 805 freeway runs through some of the city’s oldest neighborhoods.
California Highway Patrol Officer Salvador Castro said it was an unusual location for a sea lion and “an unusual occurrence”.
Castro said the marine mammal was about 40 feet from the roadway when rescue teams arrived.
This sea lion has a history of adventure voyages, SeaWorld said, and was rescued in November in a bay near San Diego International Airport. Last month, it was also spotted at Naval Base Point Loma on the Mission Beach Boardwalk and near a deli near nearby Mission Bay, SeaWorld said.
Robin Davidoff of the Sierra Club Seal Society said motorists did the right thing by allowing the sea lion to cross safely. He encouraged those encountering marine mammals along the coast to stay at least 50 miles away.
“We thank the concerned citizens who blocked traffic to ensure the safety of this unusual sea lion,” Davidoff said by email.
“They live in coastal waters and on beaches, docks, buoys and wharves,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration state in its species directory. “They are easily trained and intelligent and are commonly seen in zoos and aquariums. California sea lions are playful, intelligent and very vocal (sounding like barking dogs).”
San Diego has tried to balance the needs of marine mammals with the needs of coastal visitors, including: Closed area popular among tourists.
Experts have urged the city to close those coastal sites during pupation season because human contact can be mortal for sea lion pups learning to swim.
Human awareness could be important even further, CHP’s Castro said, because sea lions can cause a bad accident.
“That’s why we insist for drivers to always look at potential obstacles,” he said.