La Jolla Seal Squabble. Really?

Evonne Ermey

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There’s a battle being waged at La Jollas’ Casa Beach. The parties, who have PETA, environmental stewardship committees and La Jolla residents taking up arms against one another on their behalfs, could be judged as cuter and cutest. You can decide which is which.

The problem? Seals have taken up residence on what was originally intended as a cove for children to swim and play. Now this isn’t just one or two seals, this is hundreds of seals and their pups. It’s quite a sight to see their long, velvety bodies splashing along the shoreline or lazily basking on the beach with their pups.

The children, who have not been able to utilize “their” beach for years now, seem unaware of the fact that they are missing anything. I am certain that if you were successful in diverting their attention from the seals and pups long enough to ask them their opinion, they would be adamantly against shooing the seals away.

In 2009, a Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the children, ordering that the seals be dispersed. The method for dispersal was to scare the seals out of the cove using a looped recording of barking dogs as well as guards to ensure that the plan went through unhindered.

Almost immediately following this ruling, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation giving the City Council the power to decide whether the seals stay or go. City leaders met to decide the fate of the seals on March 16 and left the issue in a deadlock.

Personally, I have to ask myself, “What’s the deal with the anti-seal people?” First of all, the original plan to disperse the seals, according to the L.A. Times and San Diego News Network, would have cost an estimated $700,000. This number does not include the amount of money that would be lost by the reduced number of tourists to the area.

In our City’s economic state can we really afford to spend $700,000 to scare away a tourist attraction?

Aside from this point, the proponents of the “Childrens'” Beach act as if there is no alternate place for children to swim or play. La Jolla Cove is a perfectly viable option for kids. It is outrageous for La Jolla residents to allocate this small space to the seals when there are 70 miles of coastline in San Diego for these residents to enjoy.

Seriously, how much space do we, as humans, need at the expense of wildlife? Granted, the cove in question was created by an artificial wall and for the specific purpose of children swimming, but how many natural coves have been commandeered by us, from marine animals, for our recreational activities?

By all accounts, the parties involved are blissfully unaware of the fact that people are up in arms about this. The kids are too busy ooooing and aweing at the seals to realize that they’re being “deprived” of a playground. As for the seals, well, they’re seals.

I say let’s be a little less selfish, let’s give the seals and the City’s wallet a break. Rope off the beach during pupping season and let the kids enjoy the seals before they make their way to La Jolla cove for their swim.

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