Sea lion pup rescued from Ocean Beach had pneumonia, malnutrition

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SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - A sea lion pup that San Francisco police officers kept company at Ocean Beach earlier this week has been diagnosed with a mild case of pneumonia and malnutrition, Marine Mammal Center officials said.

Officers had responded at 1:06 a.m. Monday to a report of the small sea lion in distress and found it cold and tired near a stairwell to the beach just south of the Cliff House restaurant, according to center officials.

Officers monitored the animal to make sure it didn't cross into traffic on the Great Highway. It lingered in the area for hours until a Marine Mammal Center trained responder was dispatched around 9 a.m.

The sea lion pup was named "George Bison" because George is the call sign for officers assigned to the nearby Richmond Station and the station's softball team has a bison for a mascot, police said.

Marine Mammal Center crews took the animal, which was determined to be a male California sea lion pup with a mild case of pneumonia, a small abscess on its right front flipper and which was suffering from malnutrition. The animal is currently recovering at the center's hospital in Marin County.

Members of the public are encouraged to report any sick or injured marine mammals to the center by calling (415) 289-7325.