A baby sea lion was rescued on the street in Carson, more than eight miles from open water, sheriff's officials reported today.
Caught near Avalon Boulevard and Dominguez Street, it appeared the pup took a wrong turn and was headed toward ... Ikea?
Who knows. Sheriff's Lt. Chris Bergner told the Weekly this:
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The pup was reported in the street about 11:40 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9. Sheriff's officials just released the info over the weekend.
A motorist dialed cops to say the sea lion was in the middle on the road and almost got hit, Bergner said.
Deputies responded and tried to protect the pup while Marine Animal Rescue program director Peter Wallerstein headed there.
Bergner says he believes the pup came from the nearby Dominguez Channel, though he says he's never heard of such a thing happening in his more than 15 years at the Carson station.
"It's a little unusual," he said.
If that's the case, the sea lion would have had to have traveled more than 8 miles up the channel from the port of Long Beach or from the port of L.A. (The channel splits close to the water).
Wallerstein told us the pup was on the street near a Verizon store, "emaciated and weak," when he arrived. He took it -- he says the baby might be a girl, about eight months old -- to Marine Care Center in San Pedro.
We asked about all the recent urban rescues of sea lions, in places like the Ballona Creek channel and Playa Del Rey backyards, and Wallerstein acknowledged something was afoot.
What exactly, however, remains a mystery. The rescuer noted that he's not a scientist.
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But he has his theories, including the idea that neurotoxins from pollution-fed algae blooms might be making the animals dazed and loopy:
Sometimes neurotoins effect them and they wander up flood control channels. ... We've gotten them from under cars, in streets, in people's patios laying on lounge chairs.
Wallerstein also said that a recent, "huge" population of newborn pups on San Miguel Island resulted in emaciated sea lion babies sometimes half their normal weight.