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Sunday, August 10, 2003

The seals are a wonder, while we were there we encountered a woman who belongs to La Jolla Friends of Seals their .org seems to be down presently, I sincerely hope that this is a temporary state, she was explaining the history of the Children's Pool controvery (story follows) when she suddenly pointed to a small sea lion clambering up the rocks to the beach area. The dozen or so harbor seals, adults and pups, who have shorter flippers and maneuver on their bellies, have accepted him into their colony. The sea lion was orphaned earlier in the spring when its mom succumbed to a red tide (algae blossom that impacts marine mammals and causes large fish kills). Anyway, here was this perfect young sea lion safe and presumably comforted within the colony of his smaller and so very tolerant cousins. If you would like to contact La Jolla Friends of Seals they are at P.O. Box 2016, La Jolla, CA 92038 and 619 687-3588 or see their year 2000 award as Environmental Hero on the NOAA web site. http://www.bayarea.com

Posted on Sat, Apr. 12, 2003

La Jolla residents want seals out of pool
By Barbara Whitaker

SAN DIEGO - It is man versus seal in a battle for a patch of prime protected beach in the affluent La Jolla section of San Diego, and it appears the seals are winning.

A recent effort to show that the two could share a section of the beach known as Children's Pool ended badly when a swimmer was attacked by a seal, ending up bruised and scraped. About 30 swimmers had set out from La Jolla Cove to swim to the nearby Children's Pool, but nearly two-thirds were diverted as seals rushed into the water when the swimmers entered.

"For nearly 70 years, man and seal shared this beach successfully," said Anne Cleveland, who participated in the event. "But now I think the balance has been tipped because people have been banned for so long."

Generations of people have grown up swimming in the pool, which opened in 1931 through the largess of a local matriarch, Ellen Browning Scripps. The construction of a half-moon-shaped sea wall created Children's Pool, where youngsters could swim in the ocean safe from heavy surf.

In 1997, city officials were forced to close the Children's Pool section of the beach when unsafe pollution levels -- attributed to seal feces -- were detected. The City Council created a temporary reserve around Seal Rock to protect the seals, which are also protected under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.

In the absence of humans, the seals, now numbering about 200, have become entrenched. They use the Children's Pool part of the beach for mating and giving birth. Since February at least 14 pups have been born there, observers said.

About 20,000 tourists now visit the area each month to watch the seals bask and play.

But residents trying to reclaim the Children's Pool beach section say the increased tourist traffic is just one more reason to move the seals. The concerns of residents increased last winter with two shark attacks on seals off the beach, which the residents say may mean the seals are attracting sharks.


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