On Tuesday morning, officer Pereira received a call that left him confused. According to the caller, a sea lion found alongside U.S. Highway 101 trespassing and was holding up traffic.
Police officer Roger Pereira’s nature of work has, from time to time, put him in weird situations. And the one he recently attended to is a perfect example.
Pereira thought that it was a prank or mistake.
He told The Dodo:
“I was skeptical there would be an actual sea lion on the freeway. Upon arrival to the scene, sure enough, there was a baby sea lion on the freeway.”
When he came to the scene, he saw that the 10-month-old marine mammal was being guarded by a few concerned drivers who had pulled over to help him
“They were standing next to it making sure it did not walk into the lanes of traffic. I was in shock and could not believe my eyes that I was actually looking at a sea lion on such a busy freeway,” Pereira said.
Far from home, the 30-pound trespassing sea lion had no idea that he was interrupting the day’s busy morning commute. Instead, he seemed to be enjoying the whole situation, taking in the whole experience with the curiosity of a child.
“Even with all the loud noise of vehicles passing by and all the people around him, the sea lion was very calm and curious about what was going on,” Pereira said.
The officer thought about how he would get the trespassing sea lion in the back of his patrol car. Should he carry him in there?
As it turns out, getting the sea lion inside the vehicle should be the least of his concerns. He parked his car near the pup and opened the door.
Surprisingly, the sea lion hopped in without needing any sort of persuasion!
“The moment the door opened, the sea lion jumped right into the back seat of the patrol vehicle without needing any type of motivation,” the officer said.
Perhaps the sea lion needed a ride?
While he drove, Pereira observed that the mammal was very relaxed and seemed to be enjoying the car ride. How couldn’t he? Not all sea lions get to experience riding a vehicle!
“The sea lion loved the car ride. It did not make any noises or make any erratic movements in the back of the patrol vehicle. The sea lion was very well-behaved,” he said.
He dropped the sea lion at the Peninsula SPCA – which was less than a three-minute drive from their place of origin – in case he needed immediate care.
That same day, the pup was transferred to The Marine Mammal Rescue Center where he was further examined. Aside from slight malnutrition and a minor cut in his left hind flipper, the sea mammal was in good shape.
The center believes that the pup caught trespassing on the freeway had been separated from his mom too early.
Dr. Cara Field, staff veterinarian at The Marine Mammal Center, told Patch.
“Kid likely separated from his mother early and wasn’t quite ready to forage appropriately on his own. Although a bit malnourished, this sea lion pup is very active and feisty so we’re hopeful with immediate supportive care that he makes a full recovery.”
Hopefully, the sea lion makes a full recovery soon so he could be released back into the wild. For now, he is staying at the center with his friends to stimulate his normal foraging behavior.
Check out the video below from Associate Press to learn more about the sea lion’s rescue.
If you want to help support the sea lion’s care, you can make a donation to The Marine Mammal Rescue Center.