Stranded seal pup rescued in Hayward

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The Hayward Police Department had a strange call for assistance just before 6 o’clock Wednesday morning, when someone reported a baby seal flopping around in the bushes near a business on Sandoval Way.  When officers arrived at the scene, they thought they were looking at possum or some other kind of animal, but later discovered it was a lost male Northern Fur Seal pup that had apparently crossed Interstate 880, ending up on the eastern side of Hayward.

The pup was no stranger to the folks at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, who responded to the scene.  Laura Sherr, a spokesperson for the center, tells KTVU that the pup had an ID tag and had been previously cared for by the center’s veterinarians.  Named “Pipester,” the pup was originally treated for malnourishment when he was found at Moss Landing Harbor back in November.  Pipester spent a few weeks at the center, eating and gaining weight, and was released back into the wild.

“It looks like he had a hard time finding food and then lost his way,” Sherr said, adding that Pipester would have a full exam on Thursday.  Sherr said the Marine Mammal Center has rescued one hundred Northern Fur Seal pups from October through December, which is three times the usual number.  Experts say warmer ocean water has led fish to move to colder areas, depleting a main source of food for seals and sea lions.  The recent El Niño weather pattern is expected to make that problem worse.

As for Pipester, Sherr said he would stay at the center until he gains enough weight to again, be released back into the wild.