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Wayward Sea Lion Pup Found in California Orchard

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A sea lion pup named Hoppie was found at Mape's Ranch near Modesto, Calif., in March 2014. Workers at the central California ranch could hardly believe their eyes when they spotted a sea lion pup hopping through an almond orchard, a mile from the San Joaquin River. Hoppie is now recovering at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, Calif., and is undergoing treatment for sores and getting some much-needed nourishment in hopes of returning him to the wild.Eric Hopson / San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge via AP

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A sea lion pup named Hoppie is recovering after swimming up the San Joaquin River and winding up in an orchard at Mape's Ranch in Modesto, Calif. -- roughly 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

Ranch hands quickly contacted wildlife officials after discovering the animal on March 31, the Merced Sun-Star newspaper reported Tuesday.

A Marine Mammal Center volunteer eventually enticed the wayward sea lion into a cage, where it fell asleep. Hoppie is now recovering at the center, the newspaper reported.

Officials don't know why the sea lion left the river or how the animal hopped such a long distance on land.

Image: Hoppie
Hoppie, center, recovers with other malnourished sea lion pups at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, Calif., April 11.Michael Hanrahan / The Marine Mammal Center via AP

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