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Wayward Sea Lion Pup Rescued Near Bay Bridge Toll Plaza Recovering

SAUSALITO (CBS SF) – A sea lion pup is recuperating after he was rescued off the roadway near the Bay Bridge toll plaza earlier this week.

According to the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, the 8 month old male pup nicknamed Elio was spotted on the eastbound direction of the freeway Tuesday afternoon. California Highway Patrol officers and Caltrans crews ushered the animal off the roadway until responders from the center arrived.

"We are incredibly thankful for the heroic actions taken by our partners at California Highway Patrol and Caltrans for helping guide this animal to safety and give it a second chance to return to his ocean home," said Dr. Cara Field, the center's medical director.

Elio the sea lion after he was spotted near the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza on March 9, 2021. (Morgan Clyde / The Marine Mammal Center)

The center said Elio was suffering from maternal separation, malnutrition and dehydration.

"California sea lion pups like Elio are inexperienced hunters that often struggle to find available prey resources in their first year of foraging on their own," Field said.

As of Friday, the center said Elio is being held in an intensive care quarantine pen, receiving bagged fluids to boost hydration. Elio is also being fed a blended mixture of ground herring and water, which volunteers call a "fish smoothie."

The center hopes the sea lion will eventually transition to eating whole herring and to move to a pen with other sea lions that are being treated and are a similar age.

It is unclear when Elio would be released back into the wild.

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