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Baby seal visits Burlingame
November 14, 2012, 05:00 AM By Heather Murtagh Daily Journal Staff

Little Gobbler

Little Gobbler, a northern fur seal pup, decided to take a trot across Airport Boulevard, climb up some steps and take a nap at the wastewater treatment plant in Burlingame Tuesday morning.

At about 5:30 a.m., a worker noticed something moving in the dark. Raccoons are frequent visitors to the site, but the employee quickly noticed whatever was moving seemed to scamper along differently than a raccoon, said Plant Manager Bill Toci.

Workers were concerned about the little guy who was wandering near tanks containing water in which the seal couldn’t swim, said Toci. Thankfully, Little Gobbler went right on by those tanks.

The Marine Mammal Sanctuary responded to the visitor around 9 a.m. By then, Little Gobbler was taking a nap. Toci said their unique visitor must have been tired. The plant is near the Bay but it still needed to cross the road and stairs before it decided to rest.

It’s the first time Toci has seen a seal visit the plant. Traditionally, those who call in wandering sea mammals have the opportunity to suggest a name. Toci decided on Gobbler given that it’s almost Thanksgiving and he hoped the little guy would grow up to be someone who likes to eat.

The seal pup was taken to the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. Little Gobbler is doing well, said Jim Oswald, public relations manager for the Marine Mammal Center. The pup is about 13 pounds and feisty, which is a good sign, said Oswald. At the moment, the focus is on dealing with getting the pup’s strength up in hopes of releasing it back in the wild.

Little Gobbler is the fourth northern fur seal pup to be picked up this season, said Oswald. Burlingame’s visitor is unique — rarely do seals cross the road, he said.

Seals do get lost. When that happens, Oswald said people should keep their distance and call the distressed marine mammal hotline at (415) 289-7325.

Heather Murtagh can be reached by email: or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 105.

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