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The issue of the harbor seals at the Children’s Pool in La Jolla has been brought to the attention of the Marine Mammal Commission. Harbor seals are normally found in isolated haul out sites, primarily offshore with harbor seal densities increasing the farther the distance from the coast. The presence of harbor seals at a public beach in La Jolla implies the harbor seals are domesticated and are no longer wild; therefore, the harbor seal colony at the Children’s Pool is ecologically dysfunctional.
Domestication is an ongoing process at the Children’s Pool with both newborn pups and any transient seals new to the Children’s Pool beach. The Marine Mammal Commission will agree with these findings and should direct the city of San Diego to proceed and deter the harbor seals from using the Children’s Pool beach. The National Marine Fisheries Service has already given the city of San Diego permission to deter the harbor seals from using the Children’s Pool.
In a related matter, there is no evidence for a long term haul out and rookery site for harbor seals at the Children’s Pool area. Biological survey notes and images of the La Jolla coast made before 1910 were examined by a La Jolla historian. Notes discussing the Children’s Pool area do not mention harbor seals present and the images of the Children’s Pool area show no evidence of any harbor seals present. Photographs of the Children’s Pool area between 1910 and 1920 again show no evidence of any harbor seals.