la jolla cove

WATCH: Charging Sea Lions Chase Away Beachgoers at San Diego's La Jolla Cove

“Like, they are still wild animals and you need to give them their space,” Charlianne Yeyna, who took the video, said. “I think that this shows that they are not to be messed with.”

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A viral video showing two sea lions chasing away beachgoers at San Diego's La Jolla Cove on Friday has people on the internet questioning how we coexist with marine life, but a spokesperson for SeaWorld San Diego said the video may not be what it appears.

The video shared on TikTok by user Charlianne Yeyna appears to show two blubbery sea lions charging toward a frightened crowd of beachgoers, which quickly parted as the sea lions made their way for the ocean and jumped in.

A spokesperson for SeaWorld San Diego watched the video and said it appears the first sea lion is actually running from the second.

"You would really only notice if you watch a lot of sea lion behavior, but the fact that one jumps in the water and the other does so quickly after shows they are following one another," the spokesperson wrote to NBC 7.

Experts say we’re all looking at that video wrong. NBC 7’s Omari Fleming has the story.

That doesn't mean, though, that the massive marine mammals -- males can grow up to 1,000 pounds, especially during breeding season, when they are in what is called "full bloom" -- can't harm people.

"People should be cautious and keep their space at a reasonable distance," SeaWorld said. "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."

SeaWorld workers told the staff at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad that it was common for sea lions to seek land during pregnancy, "just closer to the actual shore." Video courtesy of the resort,

That may be what happened on Friday, at least according to Yeyna, who shot the now-viral video.

"I started recording because it was really funny to watch, for me to see all these tourists getting blown away by these giant sea lions," she said.

"The sea lions were sleeping and were just massive on the beach and I was just watching them and this woman got really close to them, like 4 feet away, and was trying to take a photo of it up close, and it just woke up and started chasing everybody," Yeyna said.

Yeyna said she was concerned for the tourists' safety. She saw many signs posted warning visitors to give seals and sea lions their space.

What are the Rules?

La Jolla Cove, where the incident took place, is open to beachgoers throughout the year. But last year, the San Diego City Council formally approved a seasonal closure of nearby Point La Jollav from May 1 through Oct. 31 for sea lion pupping season.

The move came after the failure of efforts to educate the public on appropriate and safe behavior toward sea lions. Harassment incidents continued, and the California Coastal Commission directed the city to take emergency action and close Point La Jolla for the second half of the pupping season.

The closure covers the rocky shoreline known as Point La Jolla from the Conrad F. Limbaugh and Harold F. Riley commemorative plaque -- northwest of La Jolla Cove -- down to the stepping stone adjacent to the low concrete wall, a relatively small portion of rocky land abutting Ellen Browning Scripps Park.

Eager visitors in La Jolla have been seen getting dangerously close to the resident sea lions and now, a local organization is urging San Diego leaders to take action.

SeaWorld San Diego says it's near the end of pupping season, but mating season is underway.

San Diegans React

Many folks at the beach Sunday said they had seen the video.

Kellen Clark and his friends spent Sunday morning snorkeling and enjoyed having the wildlife nearby. They said the video is a good example of why people should respect the space of the sea lions.

"I think this is their natural habitat. If anything, it’s the people who are getting too close," Clark said.

Yeyna said most people on the beach were being respectful and she hopes her video will be a learning experience for visitors.

"I'm glad that it went viral to raise awareness of how dangerous that they can be. Like, they are still wild animals and you need to give them their space. They're also protected. So I think that this shows that they are not to be messed with," Yeyna added.

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