Wildlife team working to rescue sea lion trapped in Vacaville creek

VACAVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- A team with the Marine Mammal Institute is working to rescue a sea lion Tuesday that may be trapped in a drainage pipe inside a Vacaville creek.

It apparently swam through the canals that feed the area from Rio Vista before getting trapped. The exact location of the creek where the sea lion was spotted is near the Vacaville Outlets and Interstate 80.

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A 6-foot long sea lion was spotted in a canal near Leisure Town Road in Vacaville. The Marine Mammal Institute is handling the rescue efforts.

Crews are standing near the drainage pipe along the creek, waiting for the sea lion to come out of it. It swam in there early Tuesday afternoon, and hasn't come out since. "Today it's a sea lion, there's never a dull moment," Vacaville Humane Animal Services spokesperson James Lewis said.

"The poor thing, that's pretty scary. They said it has been there for a couple days or a week or something," Sylvia D'Angelo said.

The large male sea lion weighs several hundred pounds and he's not even fully grown.

It swam more than 50 miles from the bay, possibly through the Delta. Then, ended up in Vacaville's Ulatis Creek. "It's possible that he was chasing fish, we don't know for sure. It's very possible he wandered up, just following some fresh water, " Marine Mammal Center spokesperson Cara Field, M.D., said.

After swimming after fish in the creek earlier on Tuesday, the sea lion came out, but seemed to have trouble opening his eyes. "It's possible that he was just sleepy, it's possible that he could have some underlying disease that's affected his brain and maybe caused him to come up this way," Field said.

Some people couldn't pass up the opportunity to take photos of the sea lion.

ABC7 News kept hearing this has been the biggest thing that's happened in Vacaville since the outlets were built.

Jason Graham was among those who pulled out his camera to take photos of the sea lion. "Things that aren't interesting, I don't like the norm," he said.

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Although it has been fascinating for many in Vacaville to see this creature of the sea come into California's farm country, most would like to get him back home safely.
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