In this week’s most adorable “crime,” a sea lion pup was caught wandering around at a California high school before police turned up and took the animal to safety, NBC Washington is reporting.
The little guy somehow managed to make it five miles from shore and turn up on the grounds of San Diego’s Mar Vista High School. School officials called the police, because what else do you do when a marine mammal is trespassing?
Officers from the San Diego County sheriff’s office showed up and corralled the sea lion, and then put him in the back of a squad car.
The sheriff’s department used the occasion to crack wise and offer up a few marine puns in a news release about the incident.
“While deputy sheriffs attempted to interview him as to his activities, he clammed up and requested his lawyer.”
— San Diego Sheriff (@SDSheriff) April 10, 2015
Animal control officers and marine mammal welfare experts from San Diego’s Sea World turned up to care for the animal, who didn’t appear to be injured or sick.
Joking aside, times have been hard for California’s sea lion population of late. Sick and starving sea lion pups have been washing up on California’s shores by the thousands. Between January 1 and March 15, a record 1,100 starving sea lion pups were rescued from California beaches and taken to overwhelmed rescue centers, Keith A. Matassa, executive director at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, tells the New York Daily News.
“These animals are coming in really desperate. They’re at the end of life. They’re in a crisis… and not all animals are going to make it.”
Marine scientists aren’t 100 percent sure what’s causing the problem, but believe that climate change may play a role.
“The warm water is likely pushing prime sea lion foods — market squid, sardines and anchovies — further north, forcing the mothers to abandon their pups for up to eight days at a time in search of sustenance.”
The sea lion pup rescued from Mar Vista High School will rehabilitate at Sea World and will be returned to the wild when he is old enough to fend for himself.