SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — City Councilman Joe LaCava joined Andy Field, director of San Diego's parks and recreation department, to recognize the start of sea lion pupping season Tuesday, emphasizing the importance of responsible recreation this summer.
"La Jolla's shoreline parks, beaches and coastlines have always been a summer destination for San Diego residents and visitors," LaCava said. "Unique to La Jolla is the proximity of seals and sea lions inhabiting the La Jolla coastline.
"There are few places where you can be on dry land and watch the seals and sea lions up close in their natural state," he continued. "Being this close has its advantages; it's a memorable experience for children and adults alike. However, we also have to remember that seals and sea lions are wild animals that deserve their space and our respects."
Sea lions are naturally protective and can move quickly on land despite their size. During sea lion pupping season, which runs until Oct. 31, sea lion mothers and their pups will be vulnerable as the pups cannot leave dry land for the first few months. Mothers will naturally be protective of their pups during the season.
To ensure the safety of both marine animals and humans and anticipating many first-time visitors, the city is developing additional signage and educational materials to be displayed this season. These materials will remind visitors of the importance of maintaining minimum distance from the animals and other safety protocols around the area.
"We are expecting large crowds at our parks and beaches this summer which is why it is so important that we are taking steps to ensure both the public and sea lions are safe during pupping season," Field said. "Park rangers and city partners will be actively engaging and educating the public about the sea lion population, and the additional signage will serve as another reminder to keep a safe distance and not to disturb these wonderful animals."
In addition to the educational materials provided by the parks and recreation department, a city Park Ranger and a contingent of city interns -- in addition to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration enforcement agents -- will be keeping an eye on the seals, sea lions and visitors.
"Just like you, I'm looking forward to spending the summer with friends and family enjoying all La Jolla's shoreline parks, beaches, and rocky coastline has to offer," LaCava said. "When visiting the area, please follow safety guidance, read the signs and respect the sea lions as well as all our natural environment so we can continue to enjoy them for generations."
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