Elephant seal repeatedly tries to cross California highway, stalling traffic

SAN FRANCISCO - Wildlife experts and law enforcement officials on Monday worked to keep a determined elephant seal off a Northern California highway that it has repeatedly tried to cross, snarling traffic in the area.

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California Highway Patrol spokesman Officer Andrew Barclay said callers first reported the 225-kilogram mammal was trying to climb the divider wall of Highway 37 near Sears Point in Sonoma.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service crews and CHP officers managed to usher the adult seal back into the San Francisco Bay. But instead of swimming away, the animal got back on land at least twice, Barclay said.

"Every time we got her in the water, she circled back and tried to climb out again," he said.

Most of those trying to help the seal left the area Monday evening after she got back in the water and the tide got lower, decreasing her chances of reaching land.

Barclay said some CHP personnel would patrol the area overnight in case the mammal again attempts to reach land.

Crews with the Sausalito-based Marine Mammal Center and the San Pablo Bay National Marine Sanctuary also helped with the rescue.

Marine Mammal Center spokeswoman Laura Sherr said the seal doesn't seem injured and that she probably got lost and confused after swimming up the wrong waterway.



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