VACAVILLE, Calif. (CBS/AP) — Wildlife experts are frustrated by a young sea lion that evaded their attempts to rescue him from a canal that cuts through farmland and an inland Northern California neighborhood.
An animal services official spotted the sea lion Tuesday morning in Vacaville and contacted The Marine Mammal Center, according to spokesman Giancarlo Rulli.
On Wednesday around 9 a.m., the sea lion, which has been dubbed “Mr. Leisure”, emerged from a concrete culvert and went east in the canal, which is the wrong way.
It’s unclear how the sea lion got into the canal. The closest body of water is the Sacramento River, about 50 miles north. But experts at the center believe the animal likely traveled up the river, took a wrong turn and followed a series of agricultural ditches and waterways to get to the canal.
Wildlife officials are using plastic fencing stretched across the canal and loud noises to get Mr. Leisure to turn around.
“Although this is a rare location for a rescue call, this animal is in very good body condition and active, so we are hoping it just made a wrong turn,” said Dr. Cara Field, staff veterinarian at The Marine Mammal Center. “Our hope is that the animal makes his way back out of the pipe on his own so we can attempt another rescue.”
Once captured, the sea lion will be taken to the center in Sausalito to be evaluated.
The mammal, believed to be a young male, is fat and looks healthy and seems to be enjoying his adventure, Rulli said.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)