Video outrages sea lion supporters in La Jolla - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Video outrages sea lion supporters in La Jolla

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LA JOLLA (CBS 8) - A video on social media is sparking outrage among sea lion supporters in La Jolla. The video shows people getting too close to the marine mammals.

At La Jolla Cove, a City of San Diego sign reads: Do not approach the Seals/Sea lions, they can bite and may attack.

The sign, however, did not stop some beachgoers from getting too close.

Andrea Hahn captured the video of several sea lions huddled together on a rock at the tide pool cove as droves of beachgoers surrounded them constantly taking pictures.

"They have been bothered and pestered and disturbed everywhere they come out to haulout," Hahn said.

Hahn wanted the video to prove a point that the public is getting too close for the sea lions' comfort.

The footage showed a father holding his baby girl right next to the marine mammal before the sea lion almost bites the baby's foot.

There was scene after scene of people getting close to take selfies, as the sea lions' home base was invaded, largely by tourists for the holiday season.

It's a time reminiscent of one in 2003, when a couple tried to swim in the Children's Pool. In that incident a woman was attacked by a sea lion while a man's arm was severely bitten - leaving scratches and blood marks down his back.

Carly Padilla, Outreach Educator for Project Wildlife of the San Diego Humane Society said once a sea lion bites, they often don't let go and can cause a lot of tissue damage.

“All wildlife sees us as a big scary predator and what do you do when there are predators around, you try to protect yourself,” Padilla said.

The sea creatures weigh anywhere from a few hundred to more than 1000 lbs with sharp, thick teeth. Padilla said approaching them could cause anxiety to the sea lions, resulting in a mother reducing milk production or, worst, abandoning her pups altogether.

"If you love sea lions enough and you love wildlife enough you love them enough to leave them alone," Padilla said.
 

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