A video showing two sea lions chasing away beachgoers that got too close to them on a San Diego beach has gone viral, with denizens of the internet sympathizing with the sea lions whose peace was disturbed by the intruding tourists.
The footage taken on Friday shows beach visitors scrambling to get out of the way of the sea lions near the rocks at La Jolla Cove in southern California before the semi-aquatic mammals took to the water, forcing swimmers to dodge out of their path.
Charlianne Yeyna, who filmed the video, talked to NBC San Diego about the experience.
“I started recording because it was really funny… to see all these tourists getting blown away by these giant sea lions,” Yeyna said.
“The sea lions were sleeping and were just massive on the beach and I was just watching them. And this woman got really close to them, like four feet away, and was trying to take a photo of it up close, and it just woke up and started chasing everybody.”
According to Yeyna, there were plenty of signs on the beach telling visitors to give wildlife space and stay a safe distance away from the animals in their natural habitat.
“They are still wild animals and you need to give them their space,” Yeyna said. “I think that this shows that they are not to be messed with.”
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While La Jolla Cove is open to visitors year-round, the nearby Point La Jolla is closed to the public from May 1 to Oct. 31 for sea lion pupping season. During this important time with their young, sea lions can be even more defensive of their territory.
San Diego City Council moved to restrict this area because of failures to educate the public on safe behaviour around the sea lions. Numerous incidents of beachgoers harassing the wildlife led to the decision.
While it’s possible that the sea lions began charging because one was chasing the other, according to a SeaWorld spokesperson, the internet has come out in full force against the visitors who were staggeringly close to the wild animals.
It seems that these locals are just as fed up as the sea lions.