The 5-month-old seal was transported to the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, where he will monitored and treated

By Joelle Goldstein
November 25, 2019 10:01 PM

California firefighters rescued a seal-iously cute marine animal this week after he made a bit of a detour into a parking structure.

The Redwood City Fire Department announced on social media on Sunday that they had helped rescue a baby seal — whom they affectionately named Santos — after a citizen found him waddling around a local parking structure.

The 5-month-old water mammal was transported to the fire station before he was picked up by a team of veterinarians and brought over to their Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito.

However, during the first stop of his journey, it appeared Santos had trouble staying awake. In an adorable video on RCFD’s Instagram and Facebook, the baby seal was seen fighting to keep his eyes open and head up after his rather exciting day.

“Meet Santos, our little friend who needed some assistance this morning. He found his way into a local parking structure and a good citizen called RCFD to the rescue,” an RCFD spokesperson wrote. “5-month-old Santos made it back to the fire station where he posed for pictures and took a nap.”

“The Marine Mammal Center picked Santos up and took him to Sausalito where he will be monitored, treated, and eventually released,” they added.

Speaking to PEOPLE, a spokesperson with the Marine Mammal Center confirmed that Santos was a northern fur seal pup and that he was in “decent body condition” after his parking lot adventures.

The spokesperson added that experts determined on Monday morning that the 25-pound seal was “responsive and alert but not overly active.” He is “currently being tube fed a fish smoothie mixture three times a day to help increase its weight and provide necessary hydration.”

Santos is also living in a temporary Intensive Care Quarantine pen, but veterinarians will monitor his health and determine later this week whether he should be moved to a standard rehabilitation pool pen to continue his treatment.

“At that time, trained volunteer crews will begin to offer sustainably caught herring to try and induce normal foraging behavior,” the spokesperson explains, adding that no release date has been determined yet.

Santos, the baby seal
| Credit: The Marine Mammal Center
Vets working on Santos
| Credit: The Marine Mammal Center

Northern fur seals are known for their thick brown fur and are almost always found in the ocean, according to the Marine Mammal Center. In the rare event that the fur seals are on land, they are typically pupping, breeding or ill.

The aquatic mammals can live for up to approximately 26 years, often surviving off of small schooling fish, like walleye pollock, herring, hake and anchovy, as well as squid.

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The species are also protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which makes it illegal for people to kill them aside from research or native subsistence.

The act was put into action after the animals were hunted in large numbers for their fur, according to the center.