Beach closed during shutdown can’t reopen because elephant seals took it over


A popular beach in Northern California that was overrun by elephant seals during the government shutdown will remain temporarily closed, as the park has decided to let the seals stay, according to SFGate.

{mosads}The elephant seal colony of Point Reyes National Seashore moved from its typical spot on the beach to an area regularly visited by tourists by knocking down a fence, even taking over the parking lot, forcing staff to close the access road.

John Dell’Osso, the chief of interpretation and resource education for the seashore, told the news outlet that there are as many as 1,500 elephant seals that call the park home.

He said previously a few stray seals would wander up to the beach area visited by humans, but now more than 50 seals are in the location.

With winter being when the elephant seals birth and nurse their young, 35 new baby seals are now inhabiting the area as well.

While the shutdown and lack of staff had something to do with the seals’ relocation, Dell’Osso said high tides and storms have also forced the seals to the drier beach they now inhabit.

He said had staff been present at the time, they would have discouraged the seals from staying put.

“Sometimes you go out with tarps and you shake the tarps and it annoys them and they move the other direction,” he said. “It doesn’t scare them and it’s a standard technique used with elephant seals. This would have kept them farther away from tourists.”

Dell’Osso did not indicate when the road would reopen for tourists, but noted that the park may offer guided tours so visitors could see the elephant seal colony without disturbing them.

Tags Elephant seal Government shutdown Seals

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