California beach closed until 2030 over sea lion harassment
In a bid to safeguard marine wildlife and provide protective space between the sea lions and human visitors, the San Diego City Council has announced the closure of Point La Jolla in California until 2030.
This drastic measure comes in response to persistent issues with tourists interfering with the natural habitat of the beach’s resident sea lion population.
The beach has long been a hotspot for tourists who come to bask under the sun and catch a glimpse of the thriving sea lions that call this approximately 150-yard stretch of coastline home. Here, these marine mammals use the beach to rest, mate, and raise their young.
By an 8-0 vote, it was unanimously decided to extend a City Council-approved six-month seasonal closure from last year to 2030 in response to ongoing disruptive incidents involving both visitors and sea lions. These incidents encompass harassment and intrusive behavior.
Bouts of animal harassment in a California beach
Cherlyn Cac, a senior planner from the city’s parks and recreation department, explained that the initial closure was put in place due to incidents of harassment and troubling interactions between people and the animal population.
People would try to approach the sea lions and take selfies with them.
In 2021, as reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune, a sea lion pup died at the La Jolla Cove. The pup was driven toward a cliff by a group of people and was repeatedly injured by waves striking the rocks.
“It is important to note that the year-round closure would be in effect until the city can adopt long-term strategies to manage the area,” Cac said.
This closure aims to ensure a harmonious coexistence between the mammals and the people, thereby preventing any potential breaches of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.