Police rescue baby seal stranded near Richmond-San Rafael Bridge


San Rafael Police helped rescue a baby seal found near the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

Officer Christopher Heinlein and Cpl. Mark Wilkinson responded to a report of an otter stranded Saturday on Francisco Boulevard East and Grange Way. Instead, they found a male northern fur seal pup, who had crossed the road and managed to avoid being hit by cars.

Rescuers from the Marine Mammal Center in Marin Headlands were called in to help, Officer Kaitlin Maley said. The seal “was probably without its mother for some time, but no injuries,” she said.

The pinniped underwent a medical exam on Saturday and will spend time recovering at the Marine Mammal Center.

“The veterinary team identified the fur seal as a badly malnourished male pup in poor body condition,” said center spokesman Giancarlo Rulli, who described the seal as “responsive and alert, but not overly active. “.

Rulli said the seal was given a “fish smoothie” in a tube three times a day to increase weight and restore hydration. Vets will decide later this week whether to move the seal from his intensive care quarantine enclosure to a standard rehabilitation pool enclosure while he remains in treatment.

Northern fur seals are an endangered species and are usually found 600 miles off the coast. They are protected under the Federal Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Fur Seal Act. The northern California fur seal stock, which breeds on San Miguel and Farallon Islands, was estimated at around 14,050 in 2016, according to the Fisheries Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“Unlike California sea lions, northern fur seals generally hunt well off the continental shelf in the open sea, so for this puppy to land in San Francisco Bay is a bit of a mystery,” said Cara Field. , medical director of Marine Mammal. Center. “Further diagnostic tests will hopefully shed light on why this puppy strayed from course before landing on its own in its first year.”


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