Sea Lion Morons

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rdrrm8e

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And there you have it...!

Today's OC Register.

Keith Sharon


A dad propped his daughter on the back of a beached sea lion, pulled out his camera phone and snapped a picture.

A teenager dropped Cheetos on the sand next to a sick sea lion’s mouth.

A man, trying to get a selfie with another sea lion, crouched within a couple of inches of the animal’s face, pushed the animal into a more favorable position, then snapped the photo.

As record numbers of sick and dying young sea lions wash up on Orange County beaches in recent months, some humans have treated the animals like props. Or worse.

But a group of Huntington Beach volunteers wants to fix that. Using the Internet and their wits, they rush to the sand at a moment’s notice when they hear of a sea lion on the beach, with the goal of protecting the animal from humans until other rescuers come.

And, like the sea lions, the volunteers sometimes run into humans behaving badly.

In fact, the conflicts between people who want to get a photo or a reaction out of the beached animals and a group armed with caution tape is taking place almost daily.

“I’ve seen people throw rocks at the sea lions, throw soda on them, poke them with their surfboards,” said Wendy Hawkins, 43, of Huntington Beach, the founder of a blue-shirted group calling itself the Marine Mammal Safety Team. “We’re just trying to keep the mammals safe until the rescuers get there.

“Sometimes, people have no compassion.”

Hawkins, a clothing designer by trade, founded the group March 22 after her first encounter with an angry beach crowd in Huntington Beach.

“I saw this huge crowd running and screaming,” she said. “When I got there, I saw a kid about 10 years old kicking a sea lion pup in the head. No one said anything.”

So Hawkins told the child to stop. The child’s mother told Hawkins not to talk to her son that way. Hawkins drew a U-shaped line in the sand around the sea lion, but people kept approaching it.

Hawkins said she spent the next six-plus hours trying to keep people away from the sea lion until rescuers from the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach arrived. She formed a Facebook group shortly after that incident. Three weeks later, Hawkins and about 20 of her new Facebook friends rush to the beach every time a sea lion comes ashore.

Hawkins has been at the beach every day (except one) since March 22. Now, the Marine Mammal Safety Team puts caution tape at a distance of about 15 to 20 feet round the beached sea lions. Still, people regularly step over the tape to get closer for pictures or to confront the animals.

In the first three months of this year, 2,500 sea lions have been transported from Southern California beaches to seven rehabilitation centers operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“We’re way higher than the normal number,” said NOAA’s Justin Viezbicke. He called the situation a “crisis.”

The sea lion pups are coming from the Channel Islands, their natural breeding ground. Warmer temperatures in the Pacific Ocean have attracted the sea lions’ food – sardines, hake and squid – to deeper waters.

When the mothers of newborn pups go searching for food, they are away from the pups longer and longer. The pups don’t get enough nutrients, and drift away. By the time they end up on Orange County beaches, they are usually sick or dying.

Viezbicke has received reports, pictures and videos of beachgoers confronting sea lions in inappropriate ways. Sea lions can bite (a boy was bitten in March in La Jolla), although there haven’t been any reports of bites in Orange County.

“People are all over these sick ... pups,” Viezbicke said.

“If this group helps educate the public, then it can be a good thing. In Huntington Beach, we have lots of people, and not a lot of them know how to interact with these animals.”

So far, he has not seen Hawkins’ volunteer group in action.

“If we can educate people and keep them away from the sea lions, there is a benefit to what they’re doing,” Viezbicke said. “If it’s non-confrontational, then it’s a good thing.

“It’s a difficult situation.”
 
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Otto

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Kill them ALL ! Saw a dead sea lion on the weather side of south Coronado island. Damn thing stunk. We need more stink on the beach. Good yellow marks under the dead sea lion.
 
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makairaa

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Not that I care about these sea lions, but I would think under the various marine mammal laws the general public touching one would probably be a felony.
 
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hardrider5

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Unfortunately your getting in the way of nature taking its course. These are wild animals with not enough food to eat because there are too many. In other wildness areas we hunt to reduce the herds to sustainable levels. For some reason the government and people refuse to do the same for sea lions and would allow them to starve and end up on our beaches where they are might be nursed and returned to the same environment they starved in initially. Seems pretty cruel to me. They should be taken commercially to control the size of the herd in my opinion.
 
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nefarious235

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I believe the law regarding wild animals should read to do neither harm nor assist any creature other than for the purpose of consumptive harvest or scientific research. Otherwise let nature take its course with nature.
 
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nefarious235

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oops
 
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Blackfish

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The sea lion pups are coming from the Channel Islands, their natural breeding ground. Warmer temperatures in the Pacific Ocean have attracted the sea lions’ food – sardines, hake and squid – to deeper waters.

At least for a change, they are not blaming fishermen.

I do side with this "do gooder" on one point.....if people are hitting, poking, kicking, dumping soda on the stranded animals, they need to have there ass smacked. As much I dislike the sea lions, and all the idiots that think they need saving, I do not enjoy seeing them suffer. Remove them from the beach, and euthanize them in a humane way.
 
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Phat Boat

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No one wants to be inhuman and pulling stupid stunts like those outlined in the article help no one. The fact remains the sealion has exceeded its carrying capacity or the ability of the environment to support such a large colony and if Seaworld or whomever keep rescueing these animals they are setting them up for a major population crash, if its not what we are already seeing.
 
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stairman

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what's the facebook group name.....I wanna go give them a dose of common Darwinian sense
 
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makairaa

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No one wants to be inhuman and pulling stupid stunts like those outlined in the article help no one. The fact remains the sealion has exceeded its carrying capacity or the ability of the environment to support such a large colony and if Seaworld or whomever keep rescueing these animals they are setting them up for a major population crash, if its not what we are already seeing.
I agree the crash is here. All rescuing all these sea lions is doing is pushing the problem down the line.
 
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jer dog

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At least for a change, they are not blaming fishermen.

I do side with this "do gooder" on one point.....if people are hitting, poking, kicking, dumping soda on the stranded animals, they need to have there ass smacked. As much I dislike the sea lions, and all the idiots that think they need saving, I do not enjoy seeing them suffer. Remove them from the beach, and euthanize them in a humane way.
x2
 
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rdrrm8e

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look at it like this:

Guy swims through a shark Zone and gets bit:

The Govt. closes the pier and beach to fishing.

Guy wants a selfie and pulls the seals head to his and loses his face...or a 10 year old loses a foot while kicking one.

What will be the Govt's. next move?
 
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BiggestT

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Only incident missing..

"Professional Canadian seal hunter takes some practice swings while on SoCal vacation."
 
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Gary Schulte

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Never had this problem before the tree huggers closed off access to beaches like in La Jolla so that the sea lions could have it to themselves. This changed the balance. Now the unnaturally high population is eating everything (including my bait) in order to survive and their doing a poor job of that. This is also bringing in the big sharks. Take a dive sometime off Casa Cove and you'll be surprised at how little fish are around. Never used to be like that before.
 
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hardrider5

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At least for a change, they are not blaming fishermen.

I do side with this "do gooder" on one point.....if people are hitting, poking, kicking, dumping soda on the stranded animals, they need to have there ass smacked. As much I dislike the sea lions, and all the idiots that think they need saving, I do not enjoy seeing them suffer. Remove them from the beach, and euthanize them in a humane way.

X2
 
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BiggestT

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Never had this problem before the tree huggers closed off access to beaches like in La Jolla so that the sea lions could have it to themselves. This changed the balance. Now the unnaturally high population is eating everything (including my bait) in order to survive and their doing a poor job of that. This is also bringing in the big sharks. Take a dive sometime off Casa Cove and you'll be surprised at how little fish are around. Never used to be like that before.

They're probably stripping the MPA's bare. Wouldn't that be ironic? Enviros eliminate the fisherman by closing off areas, only to have them stripped bare by the unchecked fur bags. Just maybe we'll come full circle and have an open season on the sea lions?
 
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c-goat

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If you look beyond the immediate,that being the starving die off of thousands of seals, the big WHY question is still unanswered.
Wahoo off Newport,no sardines,warm clean water offshore is it all interconnected?Its gotta be somehow.
 
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D-spot

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Just maybe we'll come full circle and have an open season on the sea lions?
I would happily pay $250 for a tag. Already got my eyes on a special Knot Head... But , Frozen Paintballs will do for now....
 
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