Mike Belahunt pulled over to rescue what he thought was a dog stuck on the traffic median of a busy San Diego road. But it was a different sort of pup altogether – a baby sea lion – that jumped into Belahunt’s car for sanctuary. “I just kind of opened the door and got him over there, he ended up just jumping in the car, hung out in the front for a little bit, then went in the back,” Belahunt told KABC-TV. While Belahunt kept the sea lion pup safe, he drew the attention of passing motorists, one of whom called Sea World about the beleaguered pup.
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Sea World’s Dave Koontz told the local CBS affiliate that the park’s animal care team were then able to rescue the lost sea lion. “This was a rather unusual rescue,” Koontz told KNX1070, noting that they’ve never done a rescue so close to their facility, which was just a few blocks away from the rescue. “The team is optimistic, based on her initial intake exam, that this sea lion will make a full recovery.”
“Occasionally, we do see something like this. We’ve done a couple rescues here in just the past week where one was from a courtyard of a hotel in La Jolla; we also rescued a sea lion pup the other day from a private home in their garden.”
The 8-month-old pup that Belahunt found was underweight and dehydrated, but rescuers from Sea World told KABC-TV that they hoped to nurse the ailing sea lion back to full health.
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