SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY (CBS13) – A young sea lion was rescued from the highway near Lathrop on Sunday, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office said.
The sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post that the sea lion was spotted on a stretch of Interstate 5 and Interstate 205.
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The Marine Mammal Center was called to help take the animal to safety, authorities said.
“This is a California Sea Lion. They can walk quite a ways”, said Dave Zahniser, with the Marine Mammal Center.
Zahniser’s team, the Mammal Center, CHP officers, and sheriff’s deputies slowly and calmly surrounded the animal, hoping not to startle it.
“We sent some of our best and they worked with local law enforcement, animal control and we were able to use our standard netting techniques,” says Zahniser.
Experts said the animal, now named Gilligan, likely lost its way out of the water before ending up on the grass along the interstate.
The sea lion didn’t show signs of trauma, but more tests are needed, officials said.
Surprisingly, experts said sea lions can pop up anywhere away from water. If you see one, walk away and call authorities.
“They have really big teeth and they are not housebroken. If you’re thinking about taking it home with you, we recommend you don’t do that,” Zahniser said.
The Marine Mammal Center said they hope to release Gilligan back into the ocean in the coming days.