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Stranded Sea Lion Climbs into Vehicle Near SeaWorld

A sea lion pup lounges by the ocean.
A sea lion pup lounges by the ocean.

A wayward baby sea lion climbed into someone's vehicle near SeaWorld San Diego early today.

Officers received a report of a baby seal sighting at Ingraham Street and West Mission Bay Drive about 5:15 a.m., according to San Diego Police Officer Dan Lasher.

"It climbed into someone's vehicle and is sitting in the front seat,'' Lasher said, noting a rescue team from SeaWorld coaxed the pup out about an hour later.


The pup was later identified as a sea lion not a seal, according to KGTV 10News, which reported the pup was believed to be about eight months old.

It was the latest in a rash of incidents involving baby sea lions in beach communities from Santa Barbara to San Diego.

Federal wildlife officials last week declared an "unusual mortality event'' for the California sea lion this year. The Los Angeles Times reported 214 sea lions have been stranded in San Diego County since March 24; nearly 400 in Los Angeles County; 189 in Orange County; 108 in Santa Barbara County; and 42 in Ventura County.

Officials typically blame warmer ocean temperatures or disease for a sea lion's trek to land but so far this year, there is no immediately obvious reason for the spike.