Sea lion named “Mr. Leisure” evades capture in canal for second day

VACAVILLE, Calif. — A young sea lion camped out in a farmland canal in California poked his head back out of a drainage pipe Wednesday, a day after rescuers tried for hours to wrangle it and take it for a checkup, officials said. 

Marine mammal experts are trying again to get the animal out of the canal in the small inland city of Vacaville, between San Francisco and Sacramento. The rescue had been called off for nightfall.

On Wednesday around 9 a.m., the sea lion, which has been dubbed “Mr. Leisure,” emerged from a concrete culvert and went east in the canal, which is the wrong way, CBS Sacramento reports.

Wildlife officials are using plastic fencing stretched across the canal and loud noises to get Mr. Leisure to turn around.  

The closest body of water is the Sacramento River, about 50 miles north. Experts at the center believe the animal likely traveled up the river, took a wrong turn and followed a series of agricultural ditches and waterways to get to the canal. 

“Although this is a rare location for a rescue call, this animal is in very good body condition and active, so we are hoping it just made a wrong turn,” said Dr. Cara Field, staff veterinarian at the Marine Mammal Center. 

The mammal, believed to be a young male, is fat and looks healthy and seems to be enjoying his adventure, center spokesman Giancarlo Rulli said Tuesday. 

The renewed rescue effort comes a day after police officers, fire officials and more than a dozen marine responders tried unsuccessfully for hours to flush the animal out of the drainage pipe. 

Officials want to take the animal, which was first spotted Tuesday morning by an animal services official, to the center in Sausalito to be evaluated.


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