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San Diego Mayor Closes Beach After Seal Abuse (Video)

San Diego Mayor Closes Beach After Seal Abuse (Video)

One of the joys of visiting beautiful San Diego is dropping by La Jolla Cove to see the seals on the beach. Last week San Diego Mayor Bob Filner closed the famous beach to nighttime visitors as an emergency measure.  A shocking video caught two women sitting on the seals, pulling on their flippers and doing all they could to chase the animals off the beach during the night.

La Jolla Cove has been the center of controversy between animal advocates and residents since it opened in the 1990′s. The manmade beach, also called Children’s Pool, was originally designed as a safe area for children to swim because it is protected by a seawall that keeps the waves calm.

Over the years, the local harbor seals also found the protected beach and now more than 200 call it home. They are especially plentiful at this time of year during breeding season.

The video of the two women was uncovered from a surveillance camera installed in January by wildlife group Western Alliance for Nature. They donated the $40,000 camera to observe the seals during pupping season.¯

Sara Wan co-founder of the group said the “seal cam”¯ not only filmed the two women mistreating the animals, it has also documented other people coming onto the beach at night and harassing the seals. Western Alliance for Nature said the ritual happens nearly every night.

The seal cam has caught people climbing over a rope barrier that separates the human part of the shore from the seal section and kicking and punching the mother seals and their pups.

Wan explained the abuse is particularly disturbing to see when so many of the female seals are pregnant. Her group is concerned that some of the pregnancies will be aborted due to the stress of being forced into the water at night.

“We applaud the mayor for his decision,”¯ Wan said.  “This is a very critical time, when moms are giving birth and bonding with their pups.”

The sunset to sunrise ban will continue through the end of pupping season in May. In addition, more police have been assigned to the patrol the beach at night.

Opponents argue they have a right to enjoy the La Jolla Cove because it was designed for children and designated for humans. They cite that since the seals have moved in bacterial levels in the water often exceed health standards. Divers in the area say they have to swim around so many seals, the water is becoming dangerous.

Closing the beach temporarily protects the seals, but does not solve the overall problem at La Jolla Cove. The city still needs to address how the animals can best co-habitat with the residents.


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Photo Credit: LisaAndres

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4:32AM PDT on May 3, 2013

thanks for sharing

1:17AM PDT on Apr 27, 2013

You're very welcome, Lilliana. The part I'm referring to is this........."La Jolla Cove has been the center of controversy between animal advocates and residents since it opened in the 1990′s. The manmade beach, also called Children’s Pool, was originally designed as a safe area for children to swim because it is protected by a seawall that keeps the waves calm.Over the years, the local harbor seals also found the protected beach and now more than 200 call it home. They are especially plentiful at this time of year during breeding season."............I live in Washington, have never been near the place, specifically San Diego, but just going by that part, it sounds like that particular stretch of beach is MAN-MADE. So, if the seals have found it to their liking, that's nice, but why make it off limits for the very species that part of the beach was "MADE" for in the first place?

As I said, no excuse for abusing wildlife, and in this case, pregnant females and their young. You may have misunderstood my "coyote" or "moose" analogy. I'm saying that if I buy property in other than DOWNTOWN NYC and wildlife decides to move into my back yard, should I be expected to just hand it over to them? Of course there would be a reason for them moving in............they want to stake it out as their territory. That's what wildlife does and when they run out of food or shelter or whatever where they ARE, they tend to move elsewhere. So, if the moose decides she has gre

12:59AM PDT on Apr 27, 2013

Thanks for your response, Diane. No, the beach and the water are the seals' natural habitat. People impinged with all those walls, etc into what was theirs even though they hadn't moved into that specific spot. As to the example with the coyote, or the moose, people will have to use investigative resources to see what (or why) is driving them into that stretch of land where your house is, so while removing the coyote or moose to an appropiate place you're also dealing with the origin of the problem.

12:47AM PDT on Apr 27, 2013

Lilliana, I agree with you to some extent. However, the basic premise here is animal abuse. It should not be condoned ANYWHERE. It's my understanding that this particular beach was BUILT (via artificial seawalls and tidal pools) to make a nice place for children (humans) to feel safe and comfortable. Seals moved in after it was built/created. While NOBODY should mess with them, it doesn't compute with me, that they should therefore be given EXCLUSIVE rights to this stretch of beach just because they've claimed it. Let me play "Devil's Advocate" live in an urban neighborhood and have for let's say, 10 years and then a coyote family moves in or a female moose takes up residency in your back yard. Neither co-habitates with humans every well, so should YOU move out of your house?

I live in Puget Sound (Washington State) and seals or sea lions have been around here since before I was born and occasionally, pups are found "abandoned" on the beaches. We are very well educated about just ignoring them, leaving them completely alone. Nobody is expected to not use those beaches!

12:20AM PDT on Apr 27, 2013

Correcting typo: I think it should be sealed off( no pun intended)... (End of that). Is there a chance the poll's question could be rephrased?

12:17AM PDT on Apr 27, 2013

It's not clear how the favorable vote for seals should go so I'm not voting. I thinf it should be sealed off( no pun intended) and kept exclusively for the seals... Humans have a lot of intelligence and money and can get another place fixed to be fit for them and the children This people know nothing about nature and respect for nonhuman species.

12:05AM PDT on Apr 27, 2013

I am shocked by the Vote on this poll. Living in San Diego I have seen these seals have arrows shot into them, swim around with plastic around their necks...gun shot etc...still people come and invade their territory. I am so mad that they don't keep the IDIOT PEOPLE out of here period. Leave these seals alone, there has been a battle over this for decades and it is time it ends. Put of a Barrier for the Humans and say STAY OUT FOOLS!!! There are tons of beaches around San Diego....and the comment below me that states the bacteria (I think that was the word) comes from Humans is RIGHT ON. If someone saw the shape these seals are in and how much they are suffering they might stand with a few of us that have been fighting for them for years instead of sticking their head in the sand and ignore the entire thing thinking someone else will help these seals. They want this area for birthing their babies...GIVE THEM THE STUPID LA JOLLA COVE! Take frigging pictures and LEAVE THEIR BEACH ALONE PERIOD!
Couldn't help myself! Now I will go to bed!

7:28AM PDT on Apr 25, 2013

If anyone is causing bacteria, its the humans.

8:56PM PDT on Apr 2, 2013

Isn't it amazing that it is quite alright for humans to move into an animals habitat and destroy it but when the boot is on the other foot it is always the animals at fault.

10:27PM PDT on Mar 30, 2013

THANK U Mayor!!!!!

JUSTICE for these poor little angels...........

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