'Road warrior' sea lion believed to have found its way back to the ocean

An off-track sea lion sighted on a north Island road is believed to have found its way back to the ocean.

It appears the animal found its way first to the nearby San Josef River, then followed the waterway back to marine waters.

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“There’s been no more sightings of our road warrior, [as] we were calling him,” Paul Cottrell, marine mammal co-ordinator for Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Pacific region, said Friday.

Local residents spotted the disoriented animal on Monday making its way along Holberg Road on the northwest side of Vancouver Island. At one point, the Steller sea lion was about six kilometres from the ocean.

But later in the day, it was spotted about 300 to 500 metres from the San Josef River. That’s where Cottrell figures the animal returned to the water, likely after hearing the sound of the river.

Sometimes sea lions head up creeks and rivers after fish. In this case, the sea lion ended up on the road.

Anyone concerned about a marine mammal can call the B.C. marine mammal response network at 1-800-465-4336. Or email DFO.ORR-ONS.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca or go to VHF radio, channel 16.

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