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© LJFS and Liesl Schindler
Seal Viewing Tips for the public when visiting Casa Beach
AFTER May 15
The protective rope line that the City put up during pupping season comes down on May 15, and visitors need to be EXTREMELY cautious when viewing the seals! Pups need a period of 4-7 weeks to wean from their moms, but there are a few who are still weaning. Even after they are weaned, it is harmful to disturb them as they are still learning to fish and fend for themselves and are also sometimes susceptible to malnourishment.
- The best views of the seals are from the wall, the sidewalk and the landing above Casa Beach. When it is hot and sunny, the seals most likely will be on the beach during early morning and late afternoon hours. Seals need to rest a minimum of 10-14 hours per day to replenish their oxygen supply and restore their body temperature after diving for fish as far as 300' in the ocean. Seals are mammals just like humans and have the same needs.
- If you choose to go on the beach, please remember that harbor seals are very shy animals and scare easily when they are on land. We advise that all visitors stay a minimum of 50' feet from all the seals. Please move slowly and keep your voices low and advise children to do the same.
- REMEMBER THAT IT A VIOLATION OF THE FEDERAL MARINE MAMMAL PROTECTION ACT TO DISTURB THE SEALS' NATURAL BEHAVIOR. ANIMALS ARE ALSO PROTECTED UNDER STATE LAW AND THE CITY OF SAN DIEGO'S MUNICIPAL CODE.
- Look for warning signs that indicate the seals are frightened and move slowly away from the seals if this happens. The seals’ alert behavior indicates a stress response. Once one seal raises its head and starts moving towards the water, this could lead to all seals "flushing" into the water. Flushing can especially harm the new pups, since they may be injured when the larger seals flee into the water and they will miss the necessary rest time to stay strong and healthy.
- Make sure children do not throw sand on the seals or throw plastic bottles, tennis balls, or other items towards them. They also shouldn’t run and play ball on the beach because the seals will get scared. There are two adjacent beaches where children can run and have fun. Sometimes in their delight over the seals, they start yelling or screaming. Please ask them not to do this. Parents should serve as role models for their children so they will learn to respect wildlife in their natural setting.
- In the summer, starting around 4pm, seals will be coming back on the beach after a day of fishing. Most likely you will see a lot of bobbing heads in the water. This is a sign that the seals need to rest. Although you may think it is OK to be on the beach since no seals are present, that is not the case. As long as people are on the beach, the seals cannot haul out. It is very important that visitors remain on the landing, sidewall or sea wall in the afternoon.
- If you want to take a few pictures with friends or family sitting or standing on the rock at the bottom of the stairs, please move slowly and be quiet if there are seals on the beach. If seals are nearby, please do not take pictures of people on the rock.
You can view the Federal, State and Municipal Codes
Protecting Marine Mammals HERE.
Copyright © 2001-2013 La Jolla Friends of the Seals
P.O. Box 2016, La Jolla, CA 92038
For more information please call email us.