How did a baby seal end up in a parking garage?
A wayward seal pup rescued Sunday from a San Franciscoarea parking garage has marine biologists puzzled, according to a Marine Mammal Center post on Facebook.
“Unlike a California sea lion that seeks out food sources closer to shore, this young fur seal pup should be foraging well off the continental shelf in the open ocean,” wrote Dr. Cara Field, staff veterinarian at the center, in the post.
“Further diagnostic testing will hopefully tell us why this pup veered off course into San Francisco Bay before it came ashore,” Field wrote.
Redwood City firefighters found the pup, whom they named Santos, on Sunday morning at an underground parking garage, according to an Instagram post by the department.
“Meet Santos, our little friend who needed some assistance this morning,” firefighters wrote.
A resident had called to report the lost seal, the post reported. Firefighters took the little guy back to the station, where he starred in a video and took a nap, before handing him off to the Marine Mammal Center.
The 25-pound pup, estimated to be about 5 months old, is being fed fish smoothies, according to the center. He’s alert but not especially active. Biologists hope he’s fit enough to be released soon.
The pup may have wandered to the parking garage from Redwood Creek, which feeds into the bay, a few blocks away, KPIX reported.
Northern fur seals, which are a protected species, can reach 600 pounds and up to 7 feet, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports. They can live up to 27 years.
Once hunted for their fur, the seals are normally found in the open ocean for much of the year, returning to rocky beaches to rest and reproduce, the NOAA says.