Skip to main content

Lost sea lion pup found high 'n' dry in California orchard

By Artemis Moshtaghian, CNN
updated 10:08 AM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "Hoppie" -- the sea lion -- traveled about a 100-mile drive from the ocean
  • He was underweight and malnourished and is currently recovering
  • Hoppie is not the first California sea lion to swim up the San Joaquin River channel

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Up a river without a paddle.

That's the situation an adventurous California sea lion found himself in after swimming up the San Joaquin River, ending up at Mape's Ranch in Modesto, California, about a 100-mile drive from the Pacific Ocean.

"The pup traveled a mile away from the river, and surprisingly was found in the middle of one of our new baby almond orchards," said Billy Lyons, manager of the family-owned ranch. "I hope everything turns out OK."

Luckily for the sea lion -- nicknamed "Hoppie" -- it looks like they will.

The pup is recovering back along the coast at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California. He was underweight and malnourished when he arrived there last month but is eating well and gaining strength.

After finding Hoppie, Lyons contacted the nearby San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge.

Assistant wildlife refuge manager Eric Hopson arrived on site and with the help of ranch hands helped corral the sea lion into a trap, said Jack Sparks with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Photographs provided by Sparks show Hoppie in a crate. In one, he appears to be fast asleep, nuzzled up against white towels.

Hopson then contacted The Marine Mammal Center, which agreed to take the pup. He met a representative from the center in the parking lot of a strip mall to make the hand off, Sparks said.

Hoppie is not the first California sea lion to swim up the San Joaquin River channel, according to The Marine Mammal Center.

Another sea lion -- nicknamed "Chippy" -- made the same journey in 2004. He was found by police officers atop a cruiser.

Sick sea lion ends up on hotel patio

Lost sea lion pup visits neighborhood

Dolphin refuses to leave Southern California channel

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 1:20 PM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
The beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley by ISIS militants brings into focus the risks faced by reporters in conflict zones.
updated 8:24 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
About $35,000 was taken from the bank accounts of four passengers on board Flight 370.
updated 9:53 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Five survivors of acid attacks capture India's attention with a "ground breaking" photo shoot.
updated 1:32 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
The execution of a journalist by a British-accented jihadist is a direct challenge to the international community. It's time for the U.S. to move, writes Frida Ghitis.
updated 8:19 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
In an exclusive CNN interview, Lance Armstrong admits to having a "f**k you" attitude.
updated 4:58 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Summer isn't over yet. These new hotels are keeping it alive and fresh.
updated 11:35 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
You've seen her turn on the catwalk, but her income might make your head spin.
updated 8:36 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
The pain that Michael Brown's parents are going through is something Sybrina Fulton can relate to. She, too, lost a son in a controversial shooting.
updated 5:04 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
19-year-old Udi Segal explains why he won't join the country's military.
Drinkers guzzled an incredible 10.3 billion liters of this brand in 2013, making it the world's No.1 beer. And you may have never heard of it.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT