When an unidentified man contacted the Hayward Police Department recently to report something strange resting in the bushes by California’s Interstate 880, they suspected that the caller had discovered a ‘possum’ or a ‘weird cat’. They couldn’t have been more wrong.
Police arrived around 6 p.m. on Jan. 20, 2016 to help the unknown animal. The creature was small, furry, and in trouble.
To their shock, responding officers realized it was a baby seal!
The pup had apparently hopped out of San Francisco Bay, crossed several lanes of traffic, and collapsed in the bushes, exhausted. The poor seal was tired, hungry, and dehydrated. The police called in the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California, and they took over the pup’s care.
They gave the pup fluids and food and noticed something strange: This pup wore one of the Center’s ID tags. They knew him from a previous visit!
His name is Pipester, and he was rescued last November at Moss Landing Harbor. At the time, the Marine Mammal Center nursed him back to health and returned him to the wild. Staff members at the Marine Mammal Center believe Pipester couldn’t find food out in his natural habitat, so he went exploring. That’s probably what led him to the bushes along Interstate 880.
They added that “they’ve had to rescue a record number of baby northern fur seals in 2015.” The population growth is pushing more and more of the young pups into dangerous territory.
Still, rescuers remain committed to each and every pup they discover. Pipester will stay at the Marine Mammal Center until he’s well enough to go back home. The only question is: Will he stay there?
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