SAN DIEGO — Freeway the wayward sea lion, who is continuing his exploration of the city, was found waddling in a creek roughly a mile from the ocean, SeaWorld officials said Monday.
The mammal has been in urban — decidedly non-seaside — locations before: the median of a busy freeway, near a delicatessen and at a busy boulevard.
Freeway was pulled out of Chollas Creek, a concrete-lined stormwater channel, on April 7, SeaWorld San Diego said in its statement Monday. Rescuers took him to the park's Rescue Center, where he remained.
Freeway was headed away from the marine traffic of San Diego Bay.
After the sea lion’s previous caper, in which he was found weaving in lanes of State Route 94 before he was plucked from a median about 4 miles from San Diego Bay on Jan. 7, rescuers gave Freeway his name.
He was rehabilitated at SeaWorld alongside other sea lions that may have spent too much time away from the Pacific, the park said after the freeway episode. He dipped back into frigid waters in early February after he was nudged off a small boat by animal rescuers.
Last month's storm drain rescue was the seventh time SeaWorld rescuers got a report of Freeway’s exploring the state’s second-largest city.
While other sea lions have been caught loitering near diners in La Jolla or coming uncomfortably close to beachgoers, none in recent times appears to have amassed the inland mileage of Freeway.
Freeway is grounded for now. SeaWorld officials said Monday they're keeping him for further assessment.
California’s sea lion population has been growing enough that San Diego officials have closed some areas popular with tourists to give the animals space.