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Wayward Seal Pup Turned Over to Laguna Beach Shelter : Marine life: Mammal was picked up in San Pedro, where he refused to return to the surf. He’ll eventually be released.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A wayward seal pup was picked up early Saturday from a San Pedro beach and brought to a marine shelter here where it pronounced underweight but otherwise healthy.

The 20-pound pup, dubbed “Sparky” by marine officials, was discovered by Greg and Verda Lewis of Los Angeles as they took a walk along Cabrillo Beach about 1 a.m. The couple said they tried to put the seal back into the water, but he stubbornly kept scurrying back out.

“He was on the beach and they put him in their car and took him to the police station--surprise!” said Judi Jones, director of Friends of the Sea Lions Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach. "(The police) called us and we came and got him.”

Shelter officials said he had lost a lot of weight but otherwise appeared to be in fine spirits. He should be back in the ocean within a few months.

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Meanwhile, he is living at a Laguna Beach gift shop along with four other pups that have turned up beached in the last week. “This happens kind of often,” Jones said. “Sadly, people see the baby, think it’s an orphan, and pick it up. Then when the mother returns the baby is gone.”

Sparky will spend the next few months putting on weight and learning to fend for himself, shelter officials said.

“He’s got to learn how to catch fish so that he can take care of himself when he goes back out into that great big world,” Jones said. “We’ll have to basically play mom--put the fish in the water, wriggle them and make him chase after it until he catches on.”


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