A wayward sea lion found in an open field in Lathrop last week and given the moniker “Gilligan” was released back into the wild Thursday.


Gilligan, a sub-adult pinniped aged 4 to 5 years old, was treated at The Marine Mammal Center’s Sausalito Hospital for four days after he was spotted near the junction of Interstates 5 and 205.


“A team of trained responders from (the center), successfully released Gilligan back to his ocean home (Thursday) afternoon, at Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands,” the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post Friday. The Sheriff’s Office also shared a video of Gilligan heading down the beach and out to sea.



The California Highway Patrol Tracy Area office had reported Gilligan to The Marine Mammal Center at about 7:30 a.m. last Sunday after he was spotted in the field west of Manthey Road and south of Dell’Osso Family Farm. The center then dispatched a three-person response team to the site where Gilligan was being protected and kept from going on the roadway by officers with the CHP and the Sheriff’s Office Animal Services.


“It was quite incredible to be part of this rescue. This was truly a team effort, thanks to CHP and The Marine Mammal Center,” sheriff’s Animal Services Officer Brian Wadler said at the time, adding that Gilligan had appeared to be “in good body condition and active with no wounds.”


After he was safely captured and placed in a crate, Gilligan was transported to The Marine Mammal Center on the California coast for an examination and blood work.


“(Gilligan) was cared for and checked out to make sure he was healthy,” sheriff’s officials said Friday.


While sea lion sightings are not rare in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, Rulli said the location of Gilligan’s rescue was not common since it was a couple miles from the nearest waterway.


He said it is typical in May and June to see transient male sea lions throughout the Delta hunting for carp and other easy food sources. They are working to store up enough fat for the long journey south to the Channel Islands for the upcoming breeding season.


“The doctors that treated Gilligan believe it’s likely he took a wrong turn in the Delta and got lost following a potential food source,” sheriff’s officials said.


The Marine Mammal Center is asking anyone that comes across another “Gilligan” to keep a safe distance and call their hotline as soon as possible at 415-289-SEAL (7325).


Contact reporter Cassie Dickman at (209) 546-8299 or cdickman@recordnet.com. Follow her on Twitter @byCassieDickman.