Sea lion pup found on 710 Freeway is released back into the ocean

A disoriented sea lion pup who was found trying to cross traffic lanes on the 710 Freeway in Long Beach about two months ago has fully recovered and was released back into the ocean on Saturday, according to the marine mammal center that helped rehabilitate her.

A Good Samaritan spotted the pup, a female who was around 8 months old, and California Highway Patrol officers were able to corral her into the back of a cruiser.

The pup was underweight and dehydrated but made a full recovery during her rehabilitation at the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro, where she was nicknamed “Little 710.”

“We are happy to report that the Marine Mammal Care Center and Marine Animal Rescue released this now plump and healthy pup back to her ocean home yesterday,” the organization said in a station.

It’s unclear how the pup made it all the way to the stretch of the 710 Freeway, about four miles from the ocean, but Marine Mammal Care Center President Amber Becerra said the animal could have become disoriented and trekked up the Los Angeles River. It’s not uncommon for sea lions to quickly become dehydrated and disoriented if they’re separated from their mothers, she said.

The Marine Mammal Care Center said it’s continuing to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic but with reduced staff to minimize the risk of infection among care workers.

Watch the video of 710’s release here:

Sea lion release

Today we released the sea lion pup found on the 710 freeway! After medical care and rehabilitation, she made it to her ocean home looking like the thick sea puppy we want to see! 👏 Please help our center stay open by donating in honor of the sea puppies. Any amount helps and we are so grateful for the support of our community ❤️Thank you to Marine Animal Rescue and the California Highway Patrol for all their help during her journey 😍

Posted by Marine Mammal Care Center Los Angeles on Saturday, April 4, 2020

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Kelly Puente is a general assignment and special projects reporter at the Long Beach Post. Her prolific reporting has taken her all over Southern California—even to the small Catalina Island town of Two Harbors. She is a Tiki mug collector and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Cal State Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected].