‘Sea Lion’ Sighting Reported in Tokyo Bay

Courtesy of Kazuya Nakayama
An animal that appears to be a sea lion is seen near a runway of Haneda Airport in Tokyo.

Anglers in Tokyo Bay have been on the lookout for a sea lion this week after sightings of what appeared to be one near Haneda Airport.

Sea lions can be spotted in waters around Hokkaido but sightings are not common in the capital.

If the Tokyo Bay visitor was a sea lion, it might have got separated from a herd and drifted to the area on a current, according to a specialist.

Kazuya Nakayama from Asaka, Saitama Prefecture, said he spotted the animal lying on rocks near Runway D while fishing in waters off Haneda on Sunday. It looked weak and did not move much at first, but then it jumped into the sea.

A Tokyo Coast Guard Office patrol vessel also spotted it on Tuesday.

According to Miki Sugimoto, a curator of the Toba Aquarium in Mie Prefecture, it might be a female sea lion.

Sea lions tend to live in herds. The ones in waters around Hokkaido spend autumn to spring in the area before traveling to seas off the Russian island of Sakhalin.

The Tokyo Bay visitor is not the only rare animal sighting in recent days. On Jan. 9, an about 15-meter sperm whale was spotted near the mouth of Yodo River in Osaka where it died days later.