Sea lion found on freeway returns to ocean

July 20, 2009 4:52:49 AM PDT
A baby sea lion who had a brief brush with fame when he wandered on to a busy San Francisco Bay area freeway last month has returned to the sea.

The pup was released Saturday near the Farallon Islands about 27 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The sea lion was nicknamed Fruitvale for the Oakland neighborhood where he was found June 22. He was rescued from Interstate 880 near the Oakland Coliseum after dozens of drivers reported the odd sight on the freeway's center divider.

He and other rescued sea lions rode in on a fishing boat from San Francisco to a protective cove where sea lions are known to gather.

They were released by the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, where Fruitvale had been since his capture.