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Wayward northern fur seal pup rescued from Bay Area streets

A wayward northern fur seal pup was rescued from the streets of San Rafael on Saturday and taken into the care of the Sausalito-based Marine Mammal Center, officials said.

The San Rafael Police Department first got a call about an otter in the area of East Francisco Boulevard and Grange Way.

Officers found the animal, who turned out to be a seal, crossing a roadway and narrowly escaping cars. They named the seal “Ivy.”

Northern fur seals are a threatened species and their population went from about 2.1 million in the 1950s to 1.1 million today. They spend almost all of their time in the open ocean more than 600 miles off the coast, coming ashore to breed or if they are sick, the Marine Mammal Center said.

This species inhabit waters throughout the Pacific, from Japan to the Channel Islands of California.

The Farallon Islands off San Francisco were a breeding area “before the species was hunted extensively for their luxurious fur in the late 1800s,” the center said.

After a 100-plus-year absence, the seals returned to breed on the islands again in recent decades. After a pup was born there in 1996, the Farallon Islands went onto to become an established rookery by 2006, the center said.

 

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