“But the watchful care of the parent is endless. The youth is never free from the danger of grating interference.” ~ W Goodwin
A trip down to the La Jolla Children’s Pool brought me (and a bunch of other people) in contact to the seal post-breeding season effects of a nursery of sorts. There were at least 20 different moms and pups and they were not only in the closed off section where they normally congregate but also on the “people” beaches, where I had never seen them before. I suppose they are so used to humans that it doesn’t phase them enough to stay in their protected cove. People being what they are today were trying to actually get selfies with the seals, practically walking on them for their 15 seconds of fame. One HS tourist attempted to pet one…..Hello, it is not a dog. I tried to keep a respectable distance, although in seal body language I have no idea what that distance actually might be. But we eventually found a more private cove that the vast majority of humans hadn’t found and I just observed them from the side.
At one point, the baby here floundered its way into the ocean and Mom watched and then quickly followed. She stayed right by the pup’s side and seemed to be using her body to help guide the baby back on to the shore, helping to ease some of the breaking waves. Then they mosied on back to the exact same spot on the sand that they had previously claimed.
The seal cove was initially conceived to be a protected swimming area for children but the harbor seals and sea lions had another idea and it is now their domain. Some residents of La Jolla resent both the crowds that the animals draw and the stench they supposedly produce (the seals, not the humans. LOL I have never smelled anything in the 5 or so times I have been there). But as of late, there is another more concerning problem. Sea lion pups are coming to shore to various beaches in California, sick and starving. It is the 3rd such year in a row and scientists believe that their rapidly changing environment, speculated to be due to global warming, is leading to a scarcity of a food source. In my most pessimistic days, I wonder if we have caused irreparable damage to this planet in which we live. What a sad concept that might be. I prefer to stay optimistic, though, but sometimes that requires burying my head in the sand.