CA park issues warning amid record number of elephant seals

Park rangers at Point Reyes National Seashore in California have warned the public not to get too close to the adorable baby elephant seals, according to a report.

The large amphibian creatures are multiplying rapidly, SFGATE reported, with a record 1,370 females counted at the height of the 2022 season.

There are now so many that park-goers encounter them near the visitor center and in the parking lot.

Elephant seals can reach 5,000 pounds.
AP Photo/Eric Risberg
Park Rangers hope tourists will continue to visit Point Reyes National Seashore and view elephant seals from a distance.
Park rangers hope tourists will continue to visit Point Reyes National Seashore and view elephant seals from a safe distance.
AP Photo/Eric Risberg
Tourists are not permitted to visit certain areas of Drakes Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore.
Tourists are not permitted to visit certain areas of Drakes Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore.
PA

“Visitors should keep a distance of at least 25 feet (or two car lengths) from seals that are seen outside closed areas,” marine ecologist Sarah Codde told the outlet. “The park is closing whelping areas from public access to protect mothers and pups, but also to protect visitors as adult females are very protective of their pups and can be aggressive towards people who get too close. close.”

Male seals spend most of the day resting – they are so motionless they can be mistaken for rocks. Without warning, however, one can challenge another to a fight, a mating-focused battle between creatures weighing up to 5,000 pounds.

Elephant seals and their calves occupy Drakes Beach, Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, in Point Reyes National Seashore, California.
The population of female elephant seals has reached 1,370.
PA
Elephant seals and their calves occupy Drakes Beach, Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, in Point Reyes National Seashore, California.
Mother elephant seals tend to be “very protective of their young”, according to park rangers.
PA
Park rangers have warned visitors not to approach elephant seals at Point Reyes National Seashore.
Park rangers have warned visitors not to approach elephant seals at Point Reyes National Seashore.
AP Photo/Eric Risberg

“Visitors should be aware of how quickly the situation can change and be prepared to walk away from the seals,” Codde said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see elephant seals up close and we hope to continue to do so as long as people continue to view seals with respect.”

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