(FREEWAY SEA LION) CALIFORNIA — A very strange sight to see: On Saturday, a sea lion crossed eight lanes of traffic on Highway 101 near Burlingame. The sea lion was rescued after she exited at Broadway, and veterinarians later discovered a gunshot wound in her jaw. She’s okay for now, but she may not fully recover. Fishermen often illegally shoot near sea lions to keep them away from fish, but instances of sea lions being shot and killed are increasing. Read on for more about the sea lion referred to as Broadway Bound and the dangers facing these animals. — Global Animal
San Francisco Chronicle, Carolyn Jones
An intrepid sea lion who flopped across eight lanes of traffic on Highway 101 in Burlingame on Saturday was suffering from a gunshot wound, officials at the Marine Mammal Center said Monday.
The sea lion, dubbed Broadway Bound because she exited at Broadway before being apprehended by rescuers, is in stable condition although veterinarians don’t yet know if she’ll recover, center spokesman Jim Oswald said.
Veterinarians discovered the gunshot wound in her jaw Monday when giving Broadway Bound a physical exam and X-rays in an effort to learn the source of the sea lion’s disorientation.
The gunshot wound was at least a week old, Oswald said.
Fishermen, sea lions’ primary competition for fish, illegally shoot at sea lions to keep them away from nets. In 2010, the Marine Mammal Center admitted nine sea lions with gunshot wounds. This year, the center has seen at least one other, King Neptune, who was rescued off the Santa Cruz Wharf in August and died of his injuries, Oswald said.
The gunshot wound is not necessarily the reason Broadway Bound decided to cross the road, Oswald said. She might have been suffering brain seizures from eating fish sickened by toxic algae, a condition common among sea lions, he said. Veterinarians are awaiting test results.
Broadway Bound’s adventure with rescuers began around 7 a.m. Saturday when she hoisted herself out of San Francisco Bay and hauled herself across the freeway, headed toward downtown Burlingame. Motorists alerted Burlingame police, who waited with the fast-moving sea lion until staff from the Marine Mammal Center could bring her to the Sausalito center for treatment.
She’s currently sharing a pen with two other sea lions and appears fatigued but generally OK, Oswald said.
More San Francisco Chronicle: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/10/04/BA6K1LCUT6.DTL