Monday, Jun. 24, 2013

Cyril the Sea Lion, Ontario

On June 17, 1958, a sea lion by the name of Cyril managed to swim away from the premises of the Storybook Gardens Zoo in London, Ont. The creature, whose natural home lay by the islands near San Francisco, voyaged through the waters of Lake Erie, traversed an international boundary and was found lolling about near a boathouse in Sandusky, Ohio. Cyril was then transferred to the nearby Toledo Zoo, but he didn't stay long — within weeks, he was sent back to Canada. But as a July 1, 1958, article in the Toledo Blade pointed out, Cyril could have been Toledo's to keep: 60 years earlier, in 1898, the New York Supreme Court had ruled on a similar case of a "runaway sea lion" and "proclaimed that wild animals which escape from their owners are no longer the property of their former owners." Yet Cyril was returned anyway. Chalk it up to good cross-border relations.