Laguna Beach

Animal Files

Sea lion hangs out at beach with local residents, concerned calls pour in but PMMC says she is ok

On Friday, July 19, at 7:28 p.m., a local female California sea lion made waves when she decided to take a little “R & R” at the beach. The pinniped parked it at Bluebird Beach, at the 1500 block of South Coast Highway, amongst dozens of spectators.

According to LBPD Civilian Services Administrator Jim Beres, “We received a report of a sea lion on the sand at Bluebird Beach.”

 Beach Patrol Officers responded to assess the animal and determine if a response from Pacific Marine Mammal Center would be necessary. 

“The sea lion was not sick or injured, it was just resting on the beach between the shoreline and the rocks,” Beres said.

According to police records, the RP was concerned because they thought the sea lion was beached and “people [were] letting their dogs sniff it.”

To help mitigate the situation, Beres said, “A sign was posted to advise the public not to disturb the marine mammal. The sea lion left the beach the following morning and swam back into the ocean.”

Animal Files Sea Lion Sunning

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Molly Zurflueh

Local California sea lion hangs out at the beach on Friday night

PMMC public relations and events coordinator Krysta Higuchi said, “We did not respond to this pinniped. We received the call late in the day from animal control. The animal is a yearling that is known for going up to people and has been spotted a few times this month. Right now, the animal has been placed ‘on watch,’ as to monitor her behavior. We don’t want to cause undue stress by capturing her.”

Higuchi said there’s no reason to be alarmed yet, which is why PMMC is continuing to monitor her if she comes back.

“She doesn’t have any alarming physical indications that she needs help, and has been aggressive at approach, which is a good sign. But we will continue to monitor her. Not all rescues are cut and dry and [some] need a little bit of time. If her condition changes or worsens, we will change our game plan,” Higuchi said.

When asked if this type of behavior was common amongst sea lions, Higuchi responded, “It’s hard to say if its common or not, we believe she was just resting and got caught up on a crowded beach.”

 She explained that California sea lions are common to the area, and that they are partially aquatic and known to lay out on beaches. 

“The abnormal thing is they tend not to on crowded beaches,” Higuchi said.

-By Suzie Harrison

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