Wildlife experts had their hands full on Monday trying to keep a 500-pound elephant seal from trying to cross a busy section of highway in Sonoma, California.
Employees from the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito teamed up with the California Highway Patrol to turn the large adult female back to the water after reports came in that she was trying to climb over a divider and onto the road.
Seal on the highway pic.twitter.com/namGvSKjr6— Emma (@Emmachait) December 28, 2015
Officers and workers were able to herd the lady back into the water, but she didn’t give up easily.
“Every time we got her in the water, she circled back and tried to climb out again,” said Andrew Barclay of the California Highway Patrol.
Highway Seal is moving in the right direction but it's slow going and it's a long way to the bay pic.twitter.com/DDJQ1fyZl9— Kale Williams (@sfkale) December 29, 2015
Highway seal, who some are calling Tolay after the inlet she currently inhabits, continues to do highway seal things pic.twitter.com/6LKqSCYevC— Kale Williams (@sfkale) December 29, 2015
Highway seal about as impressed by the kayak as she was by the air horn pic.twitter.com/u3YRyH6U4K— Kale Williams (@sfkale) December 29, 2015
As evening fell, the tide lowered, which rescuers hoped would lessen the elephant seal’s chances of making another attempt. CHP continued to patrol the area that night to make sure that both the seal and motorists were safe.
With the sun setting and he tide dropping our elephant seal adventure continues. Hoping she returns to open water. pic.twitter.com/r3Y5j36vod— CHP Marin (@CHPMarin) December 29, 2015
It’s not clear why the elephant seal, which appeared to be uninjured, was trying to cross the road, or what she planned to do once she had crossed, but Laura Sherr, a spokeswoman for the marine mammal center, said the animal probably just got confused after swimming up the wrong waterway.