Sunday, 7 June 2015

The seals and sealions of La Jolla

I last visited the pretty sea front of La Jolla, San Diego, in California, some ten years ago. At that time, I took some film and photographs of the Californian sealion and harbour seals that form two separate groups at opposite ends of the sea shore and registered some concern about the way tourists were behaving around the animals.

The habour seals were pupping and the steps down to Children's Beach, where their small group hauls out, had been chained off half way down to allow them some privacy from disturbance. In fact you could actually watch the seals giving birth from the walkway above the beach and it was quite a remarkable spectacle.

Pupping was well over by this latest visit and the chain was gone but there were many advisory signs asking people to keep their distance from seals and sealions and on the Children's beach a yellow rope hung with more signs was drawn across the beach.

The message was pretty clear - please stay behind this rope - but no one did. People, many armed with selfie sticks, simply ducked under the rope and advanced right up to the seals. Children even ran among them. The seals seemed to mainly tolerate this although during my brief visit there was some seemingly nervous shuffling towards the water's edge and some seals seems to move into the water as the human crowd built - as it surely must do every summer's day.

The sealions fare little better than the seals. I did enjoy the guy who walked out onto the rocks where there sealions were, sat next to one and took his selfie and then stayed out there close to the animal talking animatedly into his phone. I half expected him to hand the phone to the sealion to see if it had anything to add.

I won't say more - although I did discuss the situation again with the relevant authorities - but will let the pictures do the talking.

A little group of sealions at the northern end of the seafront
Looking down on Children's Beach - the protective rope has 4 people on the landward side (one person is actually
in the process of ducking below) and at least 18 people on the seal-side.  
Close up of rope and notice ; 'please view the seals from behind the rope guideline'.

My photo - from behind the line - harbour seals and herring gulls

In among the harbour seals is a large youngster of another species - the biggest animal in the picture (right in the middle) is actually an elephant seal.
Some other local wildlife:

Cormorants and a brown pelican

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