Saturday, February 16, 2008

La Jolla Seals - Legal Problems

It's a cold, gray day here in Central Texas. As I've gotten to feeling better, I've been back at my computer more. Next week, I'll be working on the photos from last year to put in my portfolio for the NANPA summit. I've been browsing some of my internet bookmarks - the Yellowstone Newspaper and today one of the pages about the La Jolla Seals.

The controversy out there continues. The news articles say that the court has ruled that the seals must go.

I read a lot about both sides of the controversy last spring. That wonderful retaining wall that lets you get so close to the seals to enjoy them and to photograph them was built with a generous donation from Ellen Browning Scripps with the intention of creating a permanent children's pool - a safe place for children to enjoy the ocean water. And for generations, people came with their children and shared the beach with the seals. The wall had to be altered when a child got caught in one of the openings where the sea water washed through the wall back out to sea. When those holes were closed, the waves deposited a lovely sand beach where the pool was. And the seals found a great place to haul out, to rest, and to give birth to their babies.

As the number of seals grew on the beach, some safety issues caused a closure of the beach for human use. More seals came. Many people enjoy the seals. They enjoy getting such an intimate look at the life cycle of these amazing sea creatures. Others remember the days when humans also used the area. The conflict about the usage of this area has become heated. One group wants to protect the seals - the other wants to evict the seals. It has gone to court. Right now, the courts are not ruling in favor of the seals' use of the beach - because of the laws that were made when the wall was built back in the 1930's.

There is no way to know what Ellen Browning Scripp would think about today's situation. Would she be angry that her children's pool is unavailable for children to swim in because of the seals or would she be happy that children can enjoy the area in a different way - being up close and personal watching seals and their babies.

I'm sure these seals can find a new home if they are forcibly evicted. I hope it won't happen during baby seal season. I wish it would not happen at all. If they have to find a new home, it won't be where so many people can enjoy watching baby seals being born, making their way across the beach for their first swim, or the bonding between mom and pup.

I hope someone can find a legal solution so this wonderful seal rookery can continue to thrive.


Boobook said...

Fantastic photos, and comments. Keep them coming.

Anonymous said...

Good Comments I Hope They Dont Get Evicted :(

Anonymous said...

As a Native La Jollan and Boomer Beach Bodysurfer, I have a different view. WE (Humans and Seals) shared the beach before. Either those conditions should be restored, or they should go.
In light of the recent and local shark attack, the increased seal population in the area will only bring more potential for another attack!
Next time it might be a child!
Its called the Childrens Pool, not Seal Lion Beach!

Mary Ann Melton said...

I realize that there are ALWAYS two sides to an issue . . . and the seals at Children's Pool seem to be a very emotionally charged subject. And I am glad that the Native Lo Jollan entered comments here.

A couple of observations . . . this beach is not the only beach for humans to use - just to the south of the wall is a great beach for body surfing and swimming and hanging out at the beach. Farther to the south is an excellent small beach to enter the water to swim the bay and snorkle.

I know that I first came to La Jolla to see these seals. How many other people that do bring dollars into the economy will not return if the seals are evicted?

There are many things that change naturally over time. Change is hard. But humans have so many places to play in the sand, the surf, and the ocean. Why do we begrudge the seals this very small piece of real estate?

I was in Monterey this week . . . their seal beach area is protected by a fence and is geographically less accessible for humans. Not so great for photography, but it seems that there is enough beach area there that the seals are not the issue in Monterey that they are in La Jolla. But I was not in Monterey long enough to know if there were issues in the past with the seals occupying this beach.

Anonymous said...

I live in La Jolla and I love the fact that seals are so close to humans. I HATE the fact that the cove is misnamed the Children's Cove when clearly it is such a beautiful habitat for seals which we can view in their natural habitat. I think if we called it Seal Cove, we may be apt to preserve this. I hope someone who is sensitive to this beauty and also well versed in the law will step in and stop this most recent HORRIFIC decision. I am thinking that La Jolla will lose a spectacular treasure under the false guise of "sanitation" and for the "childern." I think we should ask the children what they would prefer...