- Posted March 21, 2013 by
La Jolla, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
SO ASHAMED ABOUT SAN DIEGO'S SEAL ABUSE!
It is with a heavy heart and a sorrowful mien that I apologize to all the animal lovers out there. Somehow...and somewhere, out in our lovely city, there are despicable types that feel free to go down to La Jolla Cove and harass and abuse innocent seals lying on the beach!
CNN has even posted a video of the seals being disturbed and it is very disturbing! The story said "A newly installed video camera captures that attack and others on the seals, who have been using the beach at Children's Pool in La Jolla for decades."
I do not know if the seals using the beach for decades is actually true, but the seals have been enjoying hauling out and laying around there for quite a while.
But not everyone likes the seals taking over one of the prime spots along La Jolla Cove, where kiddies once played in the sand and divers and snorkelers used to have free range.
To the credit of new Mayor Bob Filner, who has been under intense attack from the conservative, right-wing element entrenched in the downtown, good ole boy political network, an immediate curfew and beach closure was declared.
Channel 8 News here in San Diego said: "The La Jolla Children's Pool is closed after an emergency order from Mayor Bob Filner.
The emergency order, closing the pool, started the night of Tuesday, March 19 and will be in effect between sunset and sunrise."
The 24-hour "seal cam" that was put up earlier in January was equipped with night vision lens so researchers and seal fans could watch the seals give birth during pupping season. It also captured footage of the abuse of the seals in February by two women at night. Wildlife advocate Andrea Hahn told News 8 that "while the video was crucial for the mayor to execute this emergency permit, harassment of the seals during pupping season has always been a continuous problem."
I would call it almost an intractable one. It seems there is no middle ground in the seal brouhaha--you either hate the seals taking over the beach or love them as fellow creatures of God.
The amount of time and money spent fighting this issue is another mind-blower. The San Diego City Council has devoted many a meeting to hearing two sides clash over the pinniped problem. Lawsuits between the groups for and against the seals have simmered in local courtrooms. One environmental activist and lawyer, Bryan Peace, affectionately dubbed "the seal guy" ran for the first district City Council seat, as a friend of the seals. Unfortunately, he did not win but has been a very aggressive champion of the critters right to use the beach.
The seal issue has become a bitterly divisive issue in the refined and cultivated city of La Jolla. Better known for the fine restaurants, art galleries and excellent University of California location up on Torrey Pines, La Jollans seem to be aghast at the strong emotions the seals bring up in their posh enclave.
No matter, The Federal Marine Mammal Protection Act guarantees the pupping mothers, baby seals and grumpy dads, freedom from harassment. Wikipedia notes the law as forbidding "the act of hunting, killing, capture, and/or harassment of any marine mammal; or, the attempt at such." The MMPA defines harassment as "any act of pursuit, torment or annoyance which has the potential to either: a. injure a marine mammal in the wild, or b. disturb a marine mammal by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, which includes, but is not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering."
As much as I would love to still swim and snorkel at La Jolla Cove Children's Beach. the seals have just as much a right to it, as I do. Mayor Filner has decreed that the Children's Beach he temporarily closed will allow the seals to give birth and nurse their young and is scheduled to remain in effect until May 15 - the official end of seal pupping season.
photo credits: latimesblog.com & channel 8 News.