How did a baby seal end up in a park­ing garage?

Lodi News-Sentinel - - PAGE TWO - By Don Sweeney

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.

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