• Outdoors Outdoors

Video captures crowd ignoring rules for photo opportunities with wild sea lions: 'Just give animals space and let them be'

"I'll never get how some folks can be this clueless and disrespectful."

"I'll never get how some folks can be this clueless and disrespectful."

Photo Credit: Instagram

A popular tourist attraction in La Jolla, California, is now closed for seven years in an effort to protect marine life. 

Point La Jolla and parts of Boomer Beach, popular for their sea lion populations, are now closed to the public, and Tourons of National Parks (@touronsofnationalparks) shows an example of why.

A herd of sea lions is resting on the beach surrounded by tourists who are mere feet away. 

Two tourists took it a step further, literally, for photo opportunities, getting closer. One person was practically sitting on a sea lion's face. Too close for comfort, the sea lion finally reacted, jumping back while others barked at the offender. 

The instagram account wrote in the caption, "Per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, keep at least 50-100 yards from sea lions and other marine mammals."

NOAA guidelines specify staying "at least 100 yards from whales and at least 50 yards away from dolphins, porpoises, seals, and sea lions." It notes that "federal law has specific distance requirements for some species."

A certain level of respect is required to appreciate and enjoy nature. It's also indicative of a greater understanding of the world. Unfortunately, the tourists in the video may not have recognized the impact of their actions. Promoting education on proper wildlife interaction can help foster the respect and understanding necessary to appreciate and preserve nature.

The Smithsonian Magazine reported in September 2023, citing La Jolla Light, that the San Diego City Council voted unanimously to shut down Point La Jolla and parts of Boomer Beach for a span of seven years after reports and sightings of harassment from visitors.

Sea lions come to Southern California to breed, nurse, and give birth. Dealing with humans looking for clickbait is the last thing these animals should be dealing with or worried about. 

Approaching wild animals also endangers you and the animals, who are typically punished for retaliating in order to protect themselves and their pups. Closing the popular tourist spot is an unfortunate turn of events and demonstrates how actions can impact access to nature for future visitors. 

The post attracted a lot of sympathy for the sea lions and discussion about how behavior like this should be disincentivized.

"I'll never get how some folks can be this clueless and disrespectful," one comment said.

"Why can't humans just give animals space and let them be?!" someone else wondered. 

"So sad to see the animals stressed out by inconsiderate people," another wrote.

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