Sickly Seal Found in Hayward Bushes; Police First Thought It was Possum or 'Weird Cat' | NBC Bay Area
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Sickly Seal Found in Hayward Bushes; Police First Thought It was Possum or 'Weird Cat'

The Marine Mammal Center has has rescued a record number of northern fur seal pups in 2015, more than three times as usual.

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    An emaciated baby northern fur seal was spotted early Wednesday morning in California's Bay Area, flopping about in some bushes at a Hayward business park.

    The city's police department posted a photo of the sickly mammal, saying the creature was spotted about 6 a.m. near Sandoval Way. In fact, officers didn’t believe the caller reporting the seal at first, the post read.

    Officers thought the animal must be a possum or “weird cat.” But when officers arrived, lo and behold, they found it was indeed a dehydrated and malnourished seal.

    Police called the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. Center spokeswoman Laura Sherr confirmed her team picked up the animal, which they named "Pipester," who had actually been taken to the center in the past for past malnourishment. He was originally rescued on Nov. 7, 2015, at Moss Landing Harbor by volunteers with the center’s Monterey Bay Operations and spent a few weeks gaining weight before being released late last month, she said.

    Tokyo Zoological Park Society via AP

    Rescue workers fed the seal in the hope of being able to return it to the wild.

    Sherr said the center has rescued a record number of northern fur seal pups in 2015, more than three times as usual.

    Contact Lisa Fernandez at lisa.fernandez@nbcuni.com or 408-432-4758. Follow on Twitter at @ljfernandez