SeaWorld kills sick sea lion on San Diego freeway

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Freeway, the sea lion rescued after wandering inland from his ocean home and crossing busy San Diego thoroughfares, has been euthanized after falling ill.

The sea lion was named in January 2022, after he was found on State Route 94 – a freeway located several miles away from the shore. San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

SeaWorld San Diego, the team that brought him to safety, reported he was previously seen in San Diego International Airport’s storm drain and in Logan Heights.

Since being rescued last year, Freeway had contracted a “progressive disease that our animal care experts diagnosed,” SeaWorld said in statement Friday.

“Despite extensive treatment, the disease caused his health to deteriorate over time,” the statement said.

SeaWorld reported that, due to the decline of the animal, his team had decided to humanely put him down.

Freeway was rescued for the first time in November 2021, when he found himself on a busy highway near North San Diego Bay. He was rehabilitated at SeaWorld by a rescue crew for a full week. His left flipper was fitted with an orange tag, and he returned to the sea.

SeaWorld has never understood why the sea-lion wandered so far away from the ocean.

When animals wander out of their habitat, it’s usually for food, SeaWorld officials told the Union-Tribune last year. But Freeway’s weight was good and he appeared healthy at the time.

“His adventurous spirit won the hearts of all San Diegans and he will be remembered for that and so much more,” SeaWorld said.

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