SFPD helps rescue wayward sea lion pup near Great Highway

Image 1 of 3

Two San Francisco police officers went above and beyond the call of usual duty on Memorial Day when they responded to a report of a wayward sea lion pup.

Early Monday, a call came into the Richmond District station about a young sea lion wandering along the Great Highway near Balboa Street.

There had been a report earlier about the sea lion and it appeared that the animal was disoriented.

Officers Tracy Turner and Annie Burrows arrived on scene at about 6:30am to find the sea lion in the parking lot of Ocean Beach just south of the Cliff House.

The animal did not try and get away. It stayed put.

It appeared to be "really tired, cold and wanted to be around people," officer Burrows tells KTVU Fox 2.

Police called the Marine Mammal Center, but its rescue van was not readily available so the center asked the officers to stay with the sea lion until rescue workers could arrive.

So that's what the responding officers did. They waited about three and a half hours until rescue workers from the center arrived to take the animal.

Animal care officials estimate the sea lion is 11 months old. He is very malnourished and dehydrated. The pup weighs about 27 pounds, according to Giancarlo Rulli, a spokesman for the Marine Mammal Center. 

Rescue workers asked the officers to name the pup. So they named it “George Bison.”

The officers say “George” is the Richmond District station’s alphanumeric identifier for units in the field, and the “Bisons” is the name of the station’s softball team.

Asked if this was the most unusual call she's responded to, Burrows joked, "Yes, as far as animals go."

The Marine Mammal Center says the pup is currently being tube fed and veterinarians are keeping a close eye on him over the next week. 

Typically a sea lion pup this age weighs about twice what “George Bison” weighs, according to Rulli.

He says the center greatly appreciates the efforts the officers took to help save the sea lion.