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Sea lion rescued from San Diego freeway returned to Pacific Ocean

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Sea lion rescued from San Diego freeway returned to Pacific Ocean

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SAN DIEGO — A sea lion that snuck through traffic on a busy Southern California highway before being rescued from a median last month has been returned to sea, SeaWorld San Diego announced Friday.

“After a full month of rehabilitation, the SeaWorld rescue team, in conjunction with veterinarians and NOAA, decided the sea lion was ready and approved his return to his rightful home and was successfully returned to the sea. ‘ocean yesterday morning,’ the park said in a statement. declaration.

The animal, estimated to be 200 pounds, completed rehab along with two others who also returned to the ocean on Thursday, SeaWorld said.

A video provided by the park shows the animals in containers on a small boat and then slipping into a clear blue Pacific.

On Jan. 7, morning commuters reported the animal to be on Highway 94 eastbound near Interstate 805, the California Highway Patrol said. After he went from a shoulder to a midline, good Samaritans helped circle the pinnipeds, CHP and SeaWorld said at the time.

The SeaWorld San Diego rescue team used nets to arrest the marine mammal before trucking it to its rescue center for a health assessment and recovery.

California’s sea lion population is booming, leading San Diego officials to try to balance the needs of marine mammals with those of coastal visitors. It closed some areas popular with tourists as part of its response.

The freeway location where the animal was rescued is about 4 miles from San Diego Bay. How he got to one of the city’s densest communities so far from the water is unclear.

But SeaWorld said the animal has a habit of ending up in strange places. In November, he was rescued near San Diego International Airport on the Bay. In December, he was spotted at Naval Station Point Loma, on the Mission Beach boardwalk, and near an adjacent grocery store in Mission Bay, which is home to SeaWorld, the park said.

It is therefore not excluded that this sea lion rides again.

Dana A. Williams contributed.

Sea lion rescued from San Diego freeway returned to Pacific Ocean

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