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This once rescued pup rescued once again, and the odd climate could be to blame for the mistake.

Baby seal rescued from inland California suburb

Caroline Floyd

Saturday, March 26, 2016, 5:50 PM - Officials in California are asking not why, but how the seal crossed the road this week, as an adventurous northern fur seal pup made its way more than six kilometres inland.

The little female, nicknamed Ozzie by rescuers, held up traffic as she made her way across a four-lane road before coming to rest in a yard in Fremont, California, on the southern end of the San Francisco Bay.

The nine-month-old seal was identified by her flipper tag at The Marine Mammal Center, where she was taken by animal control. It turns out this week wasn't her first stint on land - she'd been rescued by the Center last November, treated for malnutrition, and released earlier this month, some 100 miles northwest of where she ventured this week.

The Marine Mammal Center, based in Sausalito, California, reported more than 1700 seal and sea lion rescues in 2015 - more than any other year in their 40-year history. They say northern fur seals, like Ozzie, are among the most recent species to fall victim to warming waters and disruptions in food supply, leaving more and more pups in danger of starvation. This winter's El Niño, one of the strongest on record, didn't help matters as warmer-than-usual waters in the eastern Pacific exacerbate changes in the ocean.

This map of sea surface temperature anomalies shows the mid-March state of the Pacific, including the warm water off the shores of California, and the decaying El Niño.

In a statement last November, the Marine Mammal Center said:

Most of those questions surround the climatological phenomena dubbed “the blob,” an unusually large and persistent area of warm water that originated in the Gulf of Alaska and at times extended all the way down the Pacific coast to Mexico. Other factors likely also contributed to the unusually warm waters we’ve seen in this area since 2013. What’s happening off the California coast is caused not by any one environmental condition but rather a perfect storm: Unusually weak winds from the north and strong winds from the south are causing a change in currents and a lack of upwelling that would typically bring colder water and nutrients to the surface, which can increase fish abundance.

Sources: SFGate | WCAX | The Marine Mammal Center | Earth System Research Laboratory |

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