Northern California deputies rescued a sea lion pup that waddled about a quarter-mile from the ocean, snapping some photos of the wayward but healthy critter before driving it back to sea.
Mendocino County sheriff's deputies patrolling Highway 1, just south of Fort Bragg, spotted an animal moving slowly in dark, dense fog on Sunday. They discovered it was a sea lion pup, measuring about 2 feet long and weighing about 20 pounds with a tag attached to its front flipper.
The animal was friendly with the deputies, rubbing against their legs for attention.
They contacted the Marine Mammal Center in the San Francisco Bay Area, and officials there identified the pup from its orange tag as having been released from a marine mammal rehabilitation center in Southern California.
The seal lion was found to be healthy.
It then climbed into the back of a patrol car, and deputies took some pictures with their new friend, including the sea lion wearing a seat belt, before driving it back to the ocean.
If you find a stranded sea lion, do not approach ir or try to pick it up, call the Marine Mammal Center's 24-hour rescue hotline at 415-289-SEAL (7325).
— Jan Marnell (@Jan_Marnell) April 22, 2015