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Stranded Sea Lion in Vacaville Makes His Way Back Toward Home

VACAVILLE -- Onlookers gathered early Wednesday morning to see if they could catch another glimpse of the lost sea lion that found himself stuck in a Vacaville canal.

Around 9 a.m. the 300 pound sea lion, Mr. Leisure, made his way out of hiding from the canal pip he had been in since Tuesday afternoon.

Shortly after, he began to swim back down the canal towards home.

Vacaville Animal Services decided it was better to let him swim free and safely back home rather than them capturing and transporting him.

Original story published Tuesday March 14.

Animal experts and rescue crews are working to free a wayward sea lion that found itself trapped in a canal Tuesday in Vacaville.

Passersby first spotted the sea lion in the morning, along Leisure Town Road in Vacaville.

A group from the Marine Mammal Center out of Sausalito is in town to help rescue the sea lion from the drainage pipe he's made his way into.

The sea lion, believed to be a younger male, did not appear to be in any distress or pain. Some onlookers say he took a nap earlier in the day.

The sea lion has been named Mr. Leisure, a nod to Leisure Town Road.

Wildlife experts tried to lure him back out of the culvert that he disappeared into Tuesday afternoon, but he did not re-emerge.

The Marine Mammal Center suspended the search for the animal at sunset, with hope that they will spot and rescue him in daylight Wednesday.

The goal, according to the wildlife experts, is to sedate, capture and take Mr. Leisure to the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito for a physical, and release him to the ocean if he is healthy.

“It’s probably very confusing for him from here, to find his way back to salt water,” said Dr. Cara Field, Marine Mammal Center Veterinarian. “So we would prefer to get him in hand rather than leave it. But of course we don’t want to risk anybody’s safety.”

Biologists say he likely made his way to Vacaville from the Delta following a network of waterways that are still running high from recent rains, possibly finding a rich supply of fish.