La Jolla

City of San Diego urges public to keep distance from seals and sea lions in La Jolla

People and nature are trying to co-exist at the Children's Pool and The Cove

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The Children's Pool in La Jolla is closed to the public during harbor seal pupping season from Dec. 15 through May 15.

The recent opening of the area has lead to the usual dangerous interactions between people and wildlife.

Recent videos have popped up on social media capturing some of the troubling interactions between people and wildlife recently at the Children’s Pool. Some involve crowds gathering too close to seals on the beach. Others have seals and sea lions barking at swimmers in the water, one even has a sea lion chasing individuals.

Long-time La Jolla resident and frequent Children's Pool visitor Ken King is not surprised.

"Some people will be trying to get selfies up close with them. It’s annoying, I am only annoyed by people violating the law.”

That said, King says these incidents are less common than they used to be.

"It seems calmer nowadays, people seem to understand the rules of sharing it with the animals, and having much of a year when both people and seals are allowed on the beach.”

The city says the safest way to observe the sea lions is from a distance.

"Watching sea lions and their pups from a distance, such as the boardwalk, is always the best option and safest way to appreciate the marine mammals and their young. While swimming, sea lions in the water should also be given space," the city said.

From now until December 15, the beach is open to the public.

There is plenty of signage with viewing guidelines, like "no selfies" and encouraging people to stay 50 feet away from the mammals and stay behind the rope that breaks the beach in half.

"People should be cautious and keep their space at a reasonable distance," SeaWorld said in response to a similar incident two years ago. "Although sea lions may get close to visitors along the beach it's always recommended that we/the public do not get close and interrupt their behavior."

The seals and sea lions are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection act. The City of San Diego Park Rangers are responsible for citing people who harass or disturb the seal and sea lions.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect Children's Pool Beach is closed to public access during harbor seal pupping season, (not sea lion) Dec. 15 through May 15, yearly. 

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