Elephant seal crossing highway backs up traffic

An elephant seal repeatedly trying to cross state Highway 37 in Sonoma County from nearby waters caused traffic backups in the area Monday afternoon, a California Highway Patrol spokesman said.

The animal was initially reported on Highway 37 near Sears Point and state Highway 121 and was trying to get over the center divider wall, CHP Officer Andrew Barclay said.

Motorists stopped to try to help the elephant seal but “it did not want their help,” Barclay said.

CHP officers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service crews were able to divert the animal back into the water but it is “very committed to crossing” and “keeps trying to come out,” Barclay said.

Crews from the Marin County-based Marine Mammal Center have also responded to assist, he said.