A pregnant sea lion was found on a resort golf course miles from the beach

CARLSBUDD, CA (KSWB) – A “too pregnant” sea lion crashed into a fine golf course in San Diego County on Thursday, presenting a unique challenge to lifeguards 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 in any immediate danger, she told KSWB.

“It was comfortable, and warm on the golf course,” Smith said.

And the animal, which Smith described as “rather big” and “very pregnant,” didn’t seem too concerned about all the fuss.

“She doesn’t seem too upset on our part,” Smith said. “She watched us, and she was just relaxing, I think it was hole 16, I think.”

This is in contrast to the horrific rescue that Smith and her team performed earlier this year when a sea lion gained access to a busy San Diego highway.

However, the SeaWorld team wanted to bring the mother back to her natural habitat quickly and cautiously. Smith said he was too far from the lake to just walk along, and convince the animal to turn back toward the water.

Smith said that when they tried to get close to the sea lion, it started wandering in the wrong direction—and moving very quickly 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” – a large piece of plastic with handles they can use 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.

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

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 rescue team thinks it won’t be long before she returns to the beach to give birth to her young. Smith said the Omni crew “saw the pup moving inside.”

The team hopes that the birth will happen on the beach and not on some tennis court somewhere.

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

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

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 sea lion that made its way onto State Route 94 in January. This animal is actually a repeat offender: Rescuers had previously quarreled with it on busy Harbor Island Drive in San Diego and even at a La Jolla, California gift shop.

Despite the exploits of Bogey and Freeway, Smith said that so far sea lions have still been 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: