SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — There is a startling sight in the Sacramento River and it has people talking. It lurks beneath the waters surface near the Delta King.
“I saw his back, but I couldn’t really see to much,” said Amanda Grear.
She was taking pictures by the river Friday morning when she saw it.
“I couldn’t tell what it was,” said Grear.
Scott Buhl, a Wildlife Response Specialist at UC Davis, knew immediately
“Oh that’s definitely a California sea lion,” said Buhl looking at some cell phone video I shot Friday morning.
Not a dolphin, porpoise or seal, but a sea lion in the Sacramento river.
“He was just hanging out enjoying the day and didn’t seem to be in any distress,” said Buhl.
Buhl, says the the sea lion appears to be a healthy male, weighing roughly 400 to 500 pounds.
“It could definitely surprise you and startle you to see a sea lion staring back at you,” said Buhl.
It’s not uncommon to see a sea lion once every year or two in the River explained Buhl. Larger mammals, like whales, are much more rare.
In 2007, Dawn and Delta, two hump back wales, got stuck in the port in some shallow water and needed assistance.
“They can get kind of stuck and turned around,” explained Buhl.
Several agencies used sonar to guide the whales safely back to the bay, 90 miles away.
Buhl says the sea lion situation is not dire, but warns people to view the animal from a distance.
“They also can be dangerous, they will bite you,” said Buhl, ” they are a wild animal.”
Sea lions are protected under California’s Marine Mammal Protection Act. People must stay 50 feet away from the sea lion at all times.