Yesterday morning, a baby California sea lion was rescued from the median on Great Highway at Pacheco Street by police officers from Taraval Station and a volunteer from The Marine Mammal Center (TMMC).
SFPD first received a call about a young sea lion found in the plants on the median at 9:14am, Captain Denise Flaherty of Taraval Station told us. The station contacted TMMC's rescue department, who immediately dispatched a trained rescue volunteer.
Before the volunteer arrived, officers kept an eye on the sea lion and stayed in contact with TMMC to ensure that it didn't wander into traffic on the Great Highway.
By 10am, TMMC, police officers and a bystander rescued the seal lion, who has since been named "Kyle." (Officers Kyle Roach and Nicholas Delgado took part in the rescue.) As a precautionary measure, it is currently in intensive care at TMMC's hospital in Sausalito.
"The sea lion has no visible injuries and is active and alert," TMMC's Giancarlo Rulli said. "It’s currently being tube-fed a special formula of electrolytes to help boost nutrition and hydration until it is healthy enough to eat fish."
Later this week, Kyle will be examined by veterinarians to "determine the animal’s sex and collect blood samples to determine the appropriate treatment," said Rulli.
The little sea lion had most likely made its way from nearby Ocean Beach.
"We’re beginning to see an increase in the number of juvenile sea lion rescues across our range,” said Laura Chapman, TMMC's northern range operations manager, in a statement. “We ask that members of the public please keep a safe distance of at least 50 feet and give our rescue hotline a call...so a trained responder can access whether the animal needs to be rescued.”
California sea lions are the center's most common patient, with 14 rescued so far this month.
Captain Flaherty said this wasn't the first time Taraval officers dealt with wayward sea mammals. Last April, Taraval Station rescued a stranded baby seal that had likely become separated from its mother; Richmond Station also rescued a distressed sea lion pup in May 2016.
If you see a distressed marine mammal, please call TMMC's 24-hour hotline at 415-289-SEAL (7325).