LINCOLN CITY, Ore. — A sea lion was found roaming the streets of the coastal Oregon town of Lincoln City Friday afternoon, and first responders spent a couple hours trying to get her back into the water.
The sea lion had wandered onto Southeast 51st Street from the Siletz River, Lincoln City police said in a social media post. Someone called authorities at around 5:20 p.m.
The officers who responded named the sea lion "Tiffany."
Lacking in experience with herding lost sea lions, police recruited the help of the Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division and North Lincoln Fire and Rescue.
Police said the sea lion seemed keen to stay in the middle of the roadway as she inched toward Highway 101, so authorities kept her away from oncoming traffic as they developed their first plan to get her back into the water: luring her with fresh fish.
An officer went to nearby Kenny’s IGA Village Market and explained the situation. Police said the staff donated several packages of fish and refused payment, insisting they "wanted to do what they could to help out the animal."
Police presented Tiffany with the fish, and she seemed interested — but would not follow the bait. She was likely overstimulated, police said.
Then authorities came up with a new plan: make a mobile corral with sheets of plywood and herd Tiffany to the nearest river access, about three blocks away.
This plan slowly started working, as Tiffany began to move in the right direction. The officers gave the sea lion several breaks and a few soaks from garden hoses along the way before she finally made it to a river access point.
"The tide was currently out and would be a while longer before she would be covered in water completely, but she settled down happily [in] a small stream section and seemed content to wait it out until the next tide," police said.
An OSP sergeant with more than 20 years patrolling the area said this situation was a first for him.