SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Next week the barriers at the Children's Pool, which keep people away from the seals during their birthing season, will be coming down in La Jolla.
The issue of how much access people should have to the beach is an ongoing issue and is also at the center of an ongoing legal battle.
From crowds of onlookers getting as close as they can to take a selfie to people taking it one step further and touching the protected seals and sea lions of La Jolla, Andrea Hahn says she has seen and recorded it all.
"It's very dangerous," said Hahn. "Everything is a 'me, me' situation. They must come over and get their picture taken."
Hahn says the harassment typically becomes an issue during the summer months when the Children's Pool is reopened to the public.
Right now, the area is closed from mid-December to mid-May during the seals' pupping season to minimize trauma from the public, which can be harmful to the animals' health.
Hahn is one of several activists pushing to have the beach closed year-round.
"They're having fun, but what they don't see is the abandoned baby that follows when they do things like this," said Hahn.
Federal law protects the marine animals from harassment or harm, but animal rights versus the public's right to access the beach has been a hot button issue for years.
"My hair stands on end when I see people get too close," said Ellen Shively, a member of the Sierra Seal Club Society. "It's a disturbance to them."
While seeing videos of people getting too close to the animals makes her cringe, Shively says she is OK with the current arrangement to keep it closed during pupping season.
"It's a treasure. It's a unique treasure," said Shively. "That's why I'm willing to say, 'let's share the beach.'"
But there are also those who don't want the area chained off at all.
A group recently sued the City of San Diego and the California Coastal Commission to keep the beach open year-round.
As animal activists wait for the suit to make its way through the legal system, Hahn is gearing up for another busy summer.
"You can observe them in their natural state much better if you keep some distance and give the animal some freedom rather then come right up to them and impose yourself," said Hahn.
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