Wayward sea lion stuck in Vacaville canal

- It was game of hide and seek as a sub-adult (not fully grown) sea lion some of what of course was spotted sunning itself.

In a Vacaville canal, located off Leisure Town Road, the sighting brought out onlookers including local photographer Jason Graham with his camera.

“It’s bigger than I thought,” Graham said adding, “I thought it’s maybe 350 pounds and I’m assuming it’s been here longer than people think because it’s large and had trouble getting out, the water levels out here were flooding weeks ago.

The sea lion was heard by neighbors living along the canal that borders the residential area and finally spotted around 9:30 Tuesday morning a local resident then called Vacaville Animal Control.

Spokesperson James Lewis said, “I could have come from a slough that runs towards the Sacramento River towards Rio Vista in the Delta area.”

Dr. Cara Field with the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito said, “sea lions sometimes follow aqueducts or rivers that empty out to the ocean and for whatever reason can’t figure out how to turn back.

The sea lion may also have been aided by the higher water levels from recent storms and wandered into the canal in search of food and throughout the afternoon, the Vacaville Fire Department blocked entrances to culverts as the public works department dropped cameras into manholes hoping to spot the mammal.

Multiple agencies responded to aid in the rescue and attempt to flush the culvert with water from hydrants failed as well as the use of air horns to guide the mammal out of the culvert.

The Marine Mammal Center will now have someone monitoring the culvert at 4 a.m. and return to the area for another attempt to rescue and transport the sea lion to its natural habitat at least 30 miles away.

Sea lions can survive in fresh water for an extended period of time and a spokesperson for the Marine Mammal Center said this sea lion appeared healthy and was not showing any signs of distress or injury.

Stay with KTVU.com for updates on this developing story. 

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