Friday, 29 April 2016

Sea lion found on farm 50 miles inland dies after release into ocean

The 160kg animal swam and waddled its way to the ranch in Washington state but has failed to survive the sea, biologists say

The sea lion at Soggy Bottom Farm near Oakville, Washington on 15 April, about 50 miles from the ocean. The sea lion was released into the sea but has now been found dead. Photograph: Lance Martin/AP

Associated Press

Friday 29 April 2016 01.24 BST
Last modified on Friday 29 April 201601.58 BST

A sea lion that baffled scientists after being found in the driveway of a cattle ranch about 80km (50 miles) from the ocean in Washington state has been found dead two weeks after being released into the sea.

The male California sea lion was released into Puget Sound on 15 April after it apparently swam and waddled its way to the ranch near Oakville, the Tacoma News Tribune reported.

But it has been found dead under a bridge in Olympia and biologists are now investigating the unusual case.

Dyanna Lambourn, a Washington state fish and wildlife biologist, examined the sea lion and found no immediate cause of death. Samples from the necropsy were sent this week to test for possible causes.

The animal’s wayward journey to Soggy Bottom Farm began some time before 15 April.

Ken Shively, a rancher, found the large animal in his driveway and initially thought it was a deer or elk. The sea lion was about 200m from a tributary of the Chehalis river, and roughly 80km of river, creek and drainage ditch travel from Washington’s coast.

He called state wildlife officials. “They didn’t believe us,” Shively told the News Tribune. “They were like, ‘A what? Can you describe that to us?’”

Bob Weaver, a sergeant with the agency’s enforcement division, said it was the most unusual call he had received in years.

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