Highway seal ‘Tolay’ births pup in wild


An elephant seal that gained notoriety after stopping traffic on state Highway 37 last week gave birth to a pup over the weekend, according to the National Park Service.

The seal, a 900-pound adult female seal named “Tolay” after the creek where she held would-be rescuers at bay over the course of two days, gave birth at Point Reyes National Seashore on Saturday, park service officials said.

The seal blocked traffic on Highway 37 near Sears Point on Dec.

28. Authorities were able to herd her off the road and back into nearby Tolay Creek, but she made repeated attempts over the next two days to return to the roadway.

When she eventually came up to dry land on Tuesday afternoon, a veterinarian from the Marin Headlands-based Marine Mammal Center was able to sedate her. The seal was loaded on a truck and taken to Chimney Rock at Point Reyes, the site of an established elephant seal colony.

Before her release, veterinarians used a blood test and ultrasound to determine Tolay was pregnant.

Docents at the park, watching Tolay from an overlook at Chimney Rock, saw a pup next to her Saturday, park service officials said.

December and January are the months when elephant seals typically give birth and Tolay’s determination to get to land, even in the wrong location, may have been prompted by her pregnancy, Marine Mammal Center officials said.

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