WATCH: Sea Lion Rescued From San Diego Freeway

by Matthew Memrick

Officials rescued a sea lion from the middle of the San Diego Freeway on Friday morning.

This mammal wandered from the side of the freeway near the Fairmount Park neighborhood. According to NBC San Diego and seal rescuers, it’s not the first time he’s ended up in the area. 

“We don’t know exactly how he got here, but this animal has been in our rescue facility before,” Eric Ojten of the SeaWorld San Diego Rescue Team told NBC San Diego. “He was rescued in early November from Harbor Island Drive and was released shortly after and has been showing up in kind of odd situations and spots since then. This is the weirdest, though.”

Early-morning Incident Resulted In No Injuries

Fox 5 reported the 200-pound juvenile male sea lion in the eastbound lane of Route 94 near the Mount Hope area. The area is miles from the ocean, and officials have no idea how the sea lion ended that far inland.

Traffic slowed for the wayward animal after drivers spotted it. A couple of motorists tried to keep traffic from driving over the animal.

CHP public information officer Salvador Castro said several people called in the sea lion sighting. Castro said, “by the time we got to the location, he was in the center median of the 94 east, west of the 805.”

When SeaWorld crew members came out to help capture the animal, they used three nets to get the sea lion. Then, they loaded it into a truck and moved it to another location.

ABC 10 surmised that the sea lion traveled up a dry creek bed for 3.5 miles from the San Diego Bay to Highway 94.

“If he found some water, and just kind of kept going up that way, then that is what makes sense,” Otjen told the ABC affiliate.

Is The Sea Lion A Repeat Offender?

Fox 5 reported that SeaWorld officials plan to test this particular sea lion. Additionally, the National Marine Fisheries Service will come to decide on taking the sea lion back to the ocean. They could decide on keeping it in captivity. 

Sadly, nobody’s come up with a name for this city traveler yet.

“We were just glad that we were able to get out here and take care of things,” Otjen added. “This one I’ll be telling the kids about tonight.”

SeaWorld officials remembered this particular sea lion.

According to NBC San Diego, he’s traveled the city before. The November rescue came with a weeklong stay at SeaWorld before officials took him back to the ocean. Last month, the sea lion visited the Mission Beach boardwalk deli and the Navy base on Point Loma.

ABC 10 said that SeaWorld officials think the sea lion appears healthy, but they’ll be conducting additional tests as they look into anything that could explain his behavior.