June 22, 2009

Sea lion found on Calif. highway

Authorities said it was surf meets turf in California Monday when a wandering young sea lion meandered onto a busy highway.

California Highway Patrol Officer Peter Van Eckhardt said Oakland police were called to Highway 880 about 5:45 a.m. to investigate reports of a sea lion waddling south on the center divider of the northbound lanes, KTVU-TV, Oakland, reported.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported the sea lion is believed to be about a year old.

We were getting gas and heard it come over the radio that there was a sea lion on the freeway, Oakland Police Officer Naomi Johnson told KTVU. "We thought it was a joke but we went for a look and there was actually a sea lion blocking traffic. So we opened the door and he climbed right in. So we put him in the back of the car as our new prisoner.

When I saw the sea lion, I just started laughing. I just thought -- 'Man, I love this job.'

The nearby Marin Marine Mammal Center sent a truck to pick up the sea lion, but the police officers said it was reluctant to go inside the truck after jumping down from the car. The mammal hid beneath the police car and had to be coaxed out and into the transportation cage.

The sea lion was taken to the center for evaluation.