sunshine coast sea lion

California sea lion visited Canadian home on Christmas and got a little too comfortable

A B.C. homeowner received an unexpected guest on Christmas Eve when a full-grown male California sea lion appeared on the Sunshine Coast property and got quite comfortable in the nearby fresh water pond. 

Massey Padgham, a content editor for Postmedia News who was a guest at the home and a relative of the owner, said the sea lion stayed on the property overnight and was swimming in the pond, called Anderson Creek, on Christmas morning. 

But it didn't end there. The sea lion, who earned the name James Pond because of his affinity for the creek, stuck around the following day too. 

"All day yesterday (Boxing Day) it was at the main house, sleeping at the front door and under the deck like a dog," Padgham told the Vancouver Sun.

"Very doglike behaviour in a lot of ways."

Eventually, the homeowner and visiting relatives called the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. Officers then came to help the animal find his way back to the ocean. 

"Earlier today, the marine mammal rescue team responded to reports of a male California sea lion near Pender Harbour in need of "relocation." The animal had slept outside a home ─ quite a distance from the ocean ─ and then made its way into a nearby freshwater pond," they wrote of the incident on Facebook. 

"With the help of DFO officers, the 250 kg sea lion, by then named 'James Pond' by his rescuers, was tranquilized, captured and transported to a boat launch in Oyster Bay where he quickly made his way back into the ocean."

Padgham told the Sun that James Pond was the talk of the town during his stay in Sunshine Coast, and locals came specifically to take photos of the dog-like sea lion. 

"We would like to thank Fisheries and Oceans Canada for their assistance," the rescue centre wrote, "and the members of the public that alerted us to this unusual visitor to their neighbourhood."

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