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A sea lion has made the San Diego area his home — except he wants to be on land

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Why was the sea lion trying to cross the road? Motorists on California's Route 94 saw a surprise in the eastbound lanes of San Diego's Fairmount Park neighborhood - a 200-pound juvenile male sea lion. Nah, he wasn't thumbing a ride. Sea lions don't have thumbs, remember? But he may have been trying to get somewhere. Rescue workers recognized him. This animal has been in our rescue facility before, Eric Ojten of the SeaWorld San Diego Rescue Team told reporters. He said the sea lion had been rescued in early November after being found on the road, released shortly after that, and has since shown up in kind of odd situations and spots since then. SeaWorld says the lion was taken to their place for about a week, then released back into the ocean. But the following month, he was seen along the boardwalk in Mission Beach, near a deli in Mission Bay and the Navy base on Point Loma.

Researchers wonder what keeps calling him back on land. May I venture a thoroughly unscientific guess? San Diego is famous for its fish tacos. Surely, this sea lion could dive and catch his own squid and herring. But doesn't it sound appealing to just waddle up and get your fish served in a soft tortilla with chili lime crema and pico de gallo?

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.