May 1 (UPI) -- A wayward sea lion spotted on the highway near San Francisco International Airport voluntarily hopped into the back of a police cruiser, the California Highway Patrol said.
CHP Officer Roger Pereira was dispatched Tuesday to a stretch of Northbound Highway 101 near the airport and he said he didn't believe the report until he saw it for himself.
"Essentially, when I got the call, I couldn't believe there was a sea lion on the freeway. Usually we get dogs, cats, things like that. At first we were like 'we will see when we get there.' And then sure enough it was an actual sea lion," Pereira told KGO-TV.
He said a crowd of people had stopped on the highway to protect the sea lion from passing cars.
"Surprisingly, it willingly jumped into the back of the patrol car. We opened the door and it just hopped right in," he said.
The sea lion was taken to the Peninsula Humane Society, where it was later picked up by the Marine Mammal Center.
Veterinarian Emily Whitmer said the sea lion appears to be about a year old. She told the San Francisco Chronicle the animal was apparently "searching for the Pacific Ocean and appeared to have lost its way."
Officials said the animal was to be given given a thorough examination Wednesday.