SeaWorld San Diego Rescues a Sea Lion from the Omni Resort Golf Course

CARLSBUDD, CA – A “too pregnant” sea lion crashed into a golf course in San Diego County Thursday afternoon, presenting a unique challenge to the rescuers who eventually brought it back to sea.

Workers at the Omni La Costa Resort first spotted the animal in the green Thursday morning. It is located about three miles from the coast, although rescuers later noticed that the animal had come inland via Lake Patiquitus, and its journey on land was likely “only” a mile or so.

Golf course staff contacted SeaWorld Animal Rescue, and when program supervisor Jenny Smith and her team arrived, the animal did not appear to be in distress or any immediate danger, she told FOX 5 in a phone interview. This is in contrast to the horrific rescue that Smith and her team carried out earlier this year, when a sea lion gained access to a busy San Diego highway.

“It was comfortable, and warm on the golf course,” Smith said with a laugh. And the animal doesn’t seem too concerned about all the fuss.

However, the sea lion was clearly pregnant, and the SeaWorld team wanted to bring it back to its natural habitat quickly and accurately. Smith said he was too far from the lake just to walk along to convince the animal to turn back toward the water.

Smith said that when they tried to get close to the sea lion, it started moving in the wrong direction—and was moving very fast despite its large size. Rescuers blocked the animal’s path to the east with their truck and regrouped.

Smith eventually decided to enlist the resort’s staff, give them a “quick safety brief” and give them a “shield”—large plastic sheets with handles that can be used to block the animal’s path. Confused rescuers and golf course workers lined up and created a tunnel of some sort, giving the sea lion a path and directing it toward the parked rescue truck.

The plan worked, and once the sea lion was safely outflanked, the rescue team set out for nearby Carlsbad State Beach. There, a crowd of locals and summer tourists watched the rescue with excitement.

Smith said the show-stopping sea lion didn’t want to leave the truck for a moment. But in the end she screams back into the sand, swimming safely into the ocean.

The lifeguard thinks it won’t be long before she’s back on the beach to give birth to her cubs – and hopefully right on the beach, not on some tennis court somewhere.

In these still images taken from a mobile phone video, members of the SeaWorld Animal Rescue team pull a sea lion out of their transport truck, eventually making its way safely to sea at Carlsbad on June 23, 2022. (Photos: SeaWorld San Diego)

In her interview, Smith thanked the Omni staff profusely — not only for helping to convince the animal, but also for letting them drive the rescue truck on their original route.

“That was the first thing I asked,” she said with a laugh.

SeaWorld does not name the animals it rescues and returns home, but the lifeguards who helped escort the rescue team chose the nickname “Boogie.”

That’s just below “Highway,” the widely used nickname for the aforementioned animal that made its way onto State Route 94 in January. The sea lion is actually a repeat offender—his rescue has previously stopped him from crowded Harbor Island Drive to La Jolla gift shop.

While the exploits of Bogey and Freeway made hard-to-forget headlines, Smith said that sea lions have so far made it to shore still very rare. The team thinks the lake may have had a food source that the sea lion was looking for, but they still aren’t sure why it roamed all the way over the green.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: