Reprieve for the seals of San Diego

A A A

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has cast a lifeline to a colony of federally protected seals that spend their days lounging around a popular San Diego cove and have become the subject a lengthy legal tussle over their fate.





The governor signed a bill that adds a marine mammal park to the list of acceptable uses for the sheltered cove where the seals have lived for years.

The potential reprieve came just hours after a San Diego judge ordered the city to begin chasing the pesky pinnipeds from the beach by Thursday — or risk hefty fines — in order to comply with a 2005 order to restore the cove to its original condition.

Environmentalists rejoiced at the news and had high hopes for the seals at Children's Pool, one of two beaches in Southern California where harbor seals give birth and nurse their young.

The bill means that the city, which had planned to spend $688,000 chasing away the seals, has legal grounds to ask the judge to change his order, said Bryan Pease, an attorney for several pro-seal groups.

"Now it's clear that under state law the seals can stay," he said. "This is really a game-changer. This is really the end of the road for the anti-seal forces."

Before Schwarzenegger's reprieve, the city said it planned to hire someone to walk the beach with a public address system broadcasting the sound of barking dogs to scare off the seals, said Andrew Jones, the assistant city attorney for civil litigation. Force cannot be used because the seals are a federally protected marine species.

The issue is so hotly contested that the city had planned to deploy two police officers to the site to prevent interference by pro-seal activists, he said.

The city has said in the past that if the bill was signed it would likely declare the small beach a seal sanctuary and the City Council approved a resolution several years ago favoring the pinnipeds, Jones said. The seals attract dozens of tourists each day who watch them as they doze in horizontal rows and paddle lazily about the shallow, sheltered cove.

Children's Pool was created by a sea wall built in 1931 through a gift by La Jolla philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps. The state, which owns the cove, subsequently placed the beach in a trust and listed several possible public uses for it, including a children's beach and a park.

Seals began showing up in increasing numbers during the 1990s. In 1997, the city posted a warning that the pool shouldn't be used because it was contaminated with high levels of bacteria from seal waste. Still, some people continue to use it.

In 2004, a disgruntled swimmer filed suit, alleging that a seal sanctuary was not one of the permissible uses listed in the state trust.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam