Patrons at a California bar located along Newport Pier were stunned to see a young sea lion pup entering the establishment last week, as if prepared to slide up to the bar and order a drink.
Alas, sea lion pups aren’t tall enough to reach the bar stools, nor do they possess the proper identification, as bartender Todd Garbella gleefully pointed out.
“We card everyone – even sea lions,” he jokingly observed.
The surprising incident took place on May 12, shortly before 11 a.m. at the Beach Ball, a Balboa Peninsula bar, according to the L.A. Times. The young sea lion apparently left the beach, crossing a parking lot and embarking up the steps to enter the building, much to the entertainment of patrons who weren’t expecting to see the animal inside the bar. Beachgoers managed to quickly block the sea lion’s way with chairs, corralling the animal while the nearby Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach was contacted.
“They didn’t want him to wander in and bite anyone,” Garbella explained.
Though it is unusual for a sea lion, even a young one, to enter a business, the animals have become increasingly common along the beaches of Orange County. As the Inquisitr has previously reported, over 2,000 sea lions have come ashore in California this year, many of them displaying signs of sickness or malnourishment.
Mary Beth Steen, director of development for the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, noted that when sea lions do wander ashore, they can, at times, find themselves in strange places. Several weeks ago, another sea lion pup named Rubbish made headlines when it wandered the Marina district of San Francisco, as SF Gate points out, before it was taken by police to the center. Surprisingly, the sea lion had been rehabilitated there before, attaining its name during its first stay in February, after it became stranded in Santa Barbara.
Researchers assert that the irregular sea lion activity is linked to warming ocean temperatures, which are negatively impacting prey animals that the predators depend upon. As for the sea lion pup that walked into the Beach Ball, patrons took the occasion to name the young animal after the establishment.
[Photo: Mike Glenn via the L.A. Times]