At approximately 1am on Sunday, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were on routine patrol on Highway 1, just south of the town of Fort Bragg, California. Sheriff’s Deputies observed a small animal moving slowly in the road and stopped to render aid.
Due to the darkness and the dense fog the animal was very difficult to see and would have certainly been struck by a vehicle if the deputies had not stopped. Deputies discovered the small animal was a California Sea Lion pup about thirty inches in length, weighing approximately 20 pounds and had walked about a quarter mile from the ocean.
The sea lion pup had an orange tag attached to its front flipper and was extremely friendly with the deputies, rubbing against their legs for attention.
Sheriff’s Deputies contacted the Marine Mammal Center, which is based out of Sausalito, California. The Marine Mammal Center identified the sea lion pup from the flipper tag and stated that it had been released from their rehabilitation center, where it learned to interact with people.
Based on the information provided by the Sheriff’s Deputies, the Marine Mammal Center staff determined the sea lion pups health had remained stable since its release and it was not in any type of distress. At the direction of the Marine Mammal Center, the Sheriff's Deputies were asked to assist the sea lion pup back to the ocean.
The sea lion pup was grateful to receive a ride from the Sheriff’s Deputies and climbed into the rear of the patrol vehicle. The sea lion pup was transported by the Sheriff’s Deputies and successfully released back to its natural habitat.