(Reuters) - Wildlife officials in California were nursing an emaciated sea lion pup back to health on Thursday, a day after it was found beside a busy highway in San Francisco more than 1,000 feet (300 meters) from the ocean.
The pup was spotted by two motorists after apparently pulling itself uphill through bushes and across the Skyline Boulevard near Fort Funston National Park. They were then joined by national park ranger Matt Wallat, who happened to be driving by and stopped to help.
It was not clear why the young sea lion - named Percevero, from the Latin for perseverance, by Wallat - strayed so far from the water. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) said in a statement it weighed just 28 pounds (13 kgs), instead of the usual 40 (18 kgs), and that it was taken to its Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito for treatment.
The GGNRA posted a picture of the pup on its Instagram account, and another of a smiling Wallat next to Percevero.
“Thanks to the help of two good Samaritans and park ranger Wallat, this sea lion pup ... was protected from harm,” the GGNRA statement said.
The GGNRA said Percevero joins more than 100 other California sea lions currently being treated at the Sausalito center.
The Marine Mammal Center says it has rescued and rehabilitated more than 18,000 marine mammals including elephant seals, sea lions, whales, sea otters, dolphins, and porpoises, since it opened in 1975.
Reporting by Daniel Wallis in Denver; Editing by Bill Trott