Off-course sea lion in Vacaville drain pipe

A sea lion that was found trapped in a Vacaville canal Tuesday morning is now inside a drainage pipe, a spokesman for the Marine Mammal Center said.

The Vacaville Fire Department is trying to flush the sub-adult sea lion out of the pipe with water from the canal, Marine Mammal Center spokesman Giancarlo Rulli said:

“They are encouraging it to get back in the open in the canal. … Safety is our main concern.”

The Vacaville Public Works Department said the pipe is 12 miles long, Rulli said.

Rescuers have options to capture the sea lion with a net or sedate it with a dart, Rulli said.

The Marine Mammal Center sent a team to rescue the California sea lion after Humane Animal Service in Solano County informed the Marin County organization about the trapped sea lion around 10 a.m., Rulli said.

The cement canal is on the border of an agricultural area and a small community off Leisure Town Road, Rulli said. A veterinarian believes the sea lion is a sub-adult or adult based on media video and photos, Rulli said.

The pipe is in the area where the sea lion was first seen, Rulli said.

The sea lion might have been swimming up the Sacramento River and made a wrong turn into a series of ditches and waterways, Rulli said:

“The location is a rare occurrence. We don’t see sea lions in this area.”

Sea lions are prolific swimmers and often travel up the Delta, Rulli said.