Baby seal rescued from California highway

June 23rd, 2009 - 2:57 am ICT by IANS  

San Francisco, June 23 (DPA) A baby seal who somehow made his way from the San Francisco Bay to the centre divide of a major highway was rescued by police early Monday and handed over to the Marine Mammal Centre, local TV station KTVU reported.
Police rushed to the scene after receiving calls about a baby seal “walking around in traffic”, on the 880 Highway close to the Oakland Coliseum football and basketball stadium complex.

“We were getting gas and heard it come over the radio that there was a sea lion on the freeway,” said Oakland police officer Naomi Johnson, who described the escapade as a “refreshing break” from her normal duties on Oakland’s rough streets.

“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.”

Animal experts said the seal, nicknamed Fruitvale after the neighbourhood in which it was found, likely became lost in some of the canals that empty into the bay.

The pup is “very active and alert” but slightly malnourished, Marine Mammal Centre spokesman Jim Oswald said.

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