900-pound elephant seal resting easy after highway fiasco

Elephant seals have been breeding on Chimney Rock near Point Reyes for more than 150 years.

The large sea mammal had climbed onto the shoulder of the road from a nearby marsh and backed up traffic, inspiring motorists to try to help the animal.

The seal, a hefty female adult, weighs up to half a ton, which “complicates the rescue” said Laura Sherr, a spokeswoman for the Marine Mammal Center.

Efforts to rescue the elephant seal began Monday at about 1 p.m. when the California Highway Patrol received reports of the seal blocking Highway 37, Officer Andrew Barclay said.

“Our determined elephant seal from yesterday is still determined”, Marine Mammal Centre the at Sausalito said on Twitter.

“She’s a handsome animal who appears to be in flawless health”, Halaska said.

She might be looking for a safe place to give birth, said Wildlife officials.

For two days, researchers with the Marine Mammal Center have been trying to coax her away from Highway 37 and out to San Pablo Bay, but she fought them tooth and nail, with an emphasis on tooth.

Giancarlo Rulli, spokesman for the Marin Headlands-based mammal center, said Tolay is healthy and was in good spirits when veterinarians released the animal Tuesday night. “We’re not quite sure why she’s up here, she should be outside on the ocean side in the Point Reyes or Ano Nuevo areas”.

The marine center released pictures of Tolay near an area called the “fish docks”, where she was first released, and at Drake’s Beach.

Codde said park service officials will be monitoring the seal, which she suspects will have a pup within the week.

As for why she turned up here, that’s unknown.

But before she was heavily sedated and transported to Point Reyes, Tolay lumbered right into our hearts.

Elephant seal still determined to cross North Bay highway


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