Sustainability Environment

Sea lion rescued from San Diego highway rehabilitated, released

The sea lion being rescued from State Route 94 in San Diego on Jan. 7. (Credit: SeaWorld San Diego)

Story at a glance

  • A sea lion was discovered on Jan. 7 wandering the median of State Route 94 in San Diego more than 8 miles away from the ocean.
  • The SeaWorld San Diego Rescue Team responded and transported it to its rescue center.
  • Following a month undergoing rehabilitation at the center, the rescue team was able to release the sea lion back into the ocean on Wednesday.

A protected sea lion that was found wandering a California highway last month has been rehabilitated and on Wednesday was released back into the ocean.   

“Everyone was in agreement that since he was in great shape and since he was exhibiting normal sea lion behavior the decision was made to return him,” said Eric Otjen, the head of SeaWorld San Diego’s Rescue Team. “It’s pretty much the best part of the job.”   

The sea lion was discovered on Jan. 7 wandering the median of State Route 94 in San Diego, more than 8 miles away from the ocean. The SeaWorld San Diego Rescue Team responded and transported it to its rescue center. 


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Following a month undergoing rehabilitation at the center, in partnership with veterinarians and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, the rescue team was able to release the sea lion, alongside two others, back into the ocean.   

Before releasing him, the sea lion was given an additional flipper identification tag to aid in identifying him should he need rescuing again in the future.   

“It’s really neat when we can get an animal in that needs help, rehabilitate it, and then we take it back to its natural home,” said Otjen, “give it a second chance at life.” 


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