As the sun rose on this beautiful day and Bay Area commuters began getting back to work, so too did everyone's favorite "very determined" elephant seal. The seal, which shut down a stretch of Highway 37 yesterday and allegedly attacked at least one car, is once again this morning trying to cross the highway and causing headaches for the California Highway Patrol in the process.
When we last checked in on the seal yesterday afternoon, both the Marine Mammal Center of Sausalito and the San Pablo Bay National Marine Sanctuary had dispatched a rescue team to help deal with the large animal (female elephant seals can weigh up to 1,800 pounds). In spite of their efforts, every time rescue workers and CHP officers managed to get the seal back in the water, she would simply wait for them to walk away and then once again attempt to cross.
Which brings us to this morning, where rescue workers find the seal still impatiently waiting for a chance to cross the road.
“We have no idea,” CHP Officer Andrew Barclay told the Chronicle when asked to speculate as to a potential motivation for the repeated crossing attempts. “There’s no water or food on the other side of 37 and we checked all along the freeway for anything she might be looking for. There’s nothing.”
Barbie Halaska of The Marine Mammal Center speculated to the paper that the seal might in fact be pregnant.
"She's a beautiful animal who appears to be in perfect health," she explained. "She's been pretty vocal so she might be a little frustrated but otherwise she seems to be doing fine."
Officials are giving the elephant seal another 24 hours to desist in her efforts. If the seal, which apparently some rescue workers have nicknamed “Tolay,” is still around after that time there is a plan to sedate and relocate her.
Update, December 29: It seems that #sealwatch2015 has come to an end, and that rescue officials have tranquilized the elephant seal. She will reportedly be transferred to Point Reyes and released.