San Diego

Sea Lion Who Was Once Spotted on Freeway Roams to National City Drain

Due to his memorable visit to State Route 94, the SeaWorld Rescue Team gave the sea lion a fitting name -- Freeway

Freeway the sea lion, who was given that name by the SeaWorld Rescue Team for his January appearance off State Route 94, is spotted on April 7, 2022 in another peculiar place -- a storm drain in National City.
SeaWorld Rescue Team

One of San Diego’s biggest fans just can’t seem to keep away from America’s Finest City.

The curious sea lion who turned heads back in January when he somehow ended up on a local freeway was rescued from another strange place yet again. SeaWorld San Diego said the juvenile male marine animal needed help last month from his friends on the Rescue Team, who gave him a name that suits him quite well – Freeway.

SeaWorld rescue team members used three nets to guide the wandering sea lion into a metal cage in order to transport it to safety.
SeaWorld rescue team members used three nets to guide the wandering sea lion into a metal cage in order to transport it to safety.

Freeway the sea lion was spotted on April 7 taking a stroll in a storm drain under the National City Bridge, according to SeaWorld. During his latest venture, the critter was heading northeast and was 1.6 miles from the ocean.

This follows a series of strange trips for Freeway, who has earned a reputation for ending up in random spots around town.

Prior to his namesake appearance on State Route 94, Freeway was seen on Harbor Drive near the airport, the boardwalk in Mission Beach, near a deli in Mission Bay and the Navy base on Point Loma.

Thanks to rehabilitation by the SeaWorld San Diego Rescue Team, the sea lion that was spotted on a San Diego freeway in January is back in the ocean after roughly a month of treatment.

Freeway’s head-scratching tours around town have become so familiar to the SeaWorld Rescue Team that the unit decided to put an extra tag on his flipper to easily identify him.

“Should the Rescue Team get a call and it is reported that the animal has two tags – we will know exactly who it is,” Tracy Spahr, a SeaWorld representative, said in a statement. “Tags provide informational background of where the animal has been and past medical history.”

Currently, the adventurous animal is under evaluation at SeaWorld.

Last time, SeaWorld’s veterinary staff discussed Freeway’s release with the National Marine Fisheries Service, and came to a mutual agreement that he should be released back to the sea. This round, however, SeaWorld and wildlife experts are still assessing what the next steps for him will be, Spahr said.

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