Seals and Sea Lions scattered along the Bay and coastlines of San Diego have become local celebrities in bringing tourist and raising ocean conservation awareness. They’ve even been the topic of legal battles and ongoing efforts to protect the environment.
On the latest topic of San Diego Pinnipeds (the family genus that seals and sea lions fall into), experts are trying to find more efficient ways for humans and their flippered friends to live in harmony.
There’s no question, these guys are adorable and fun to take pictures of. Most of them aren’t too shy of humans. Take our featured photo taken by one of our staff during a tour. They are often a highlight many of our guests are excited to see while relaxing on our sailing yachts.
The latest concern is a product of a positive turnout, the rapid increase in seals and sea lion populations. However, the ever-growing colonies are intruding where humans normally swim. And while humans and seals can normally swim in peace, it’s the fecal matter and pollution people have to worry about. Experts are looking at non-lethal ways to keep pinnipeds away from popular human swim spots, and reduce the exposure of disease from sea mammals.
Some ideas include building fences, or moving cylinders to push them out, even low voltage live stock wires. The issues follow that nothing like this has ever been installed in La Jolla. There are many legal issues and even public opinion to overcome. The installation should also be able to be used in the long run which is a challenging aspect for designers since sea lions are particularly adaptable and can overcome obstacles easily.
I think the important thing to keep in mind is that humans and marine wildlife can live in harmony, but that means putting up healthy boundaries while appreciating natural beauty. And while humans and sea lions are social creatures, it’s important for us to adore them with care, keeping our pollution and human touch away from them, and keeping their bacteria away us. I think the city and experts will find a way to find harmony, and with enough education, the public should be able to get behind these values.