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Seals And Birds ‘Reek’ Havoc At La Jolla Cove

La Jolla cove offers some of the most breathtaking views in San Diego County. But some people say the area smells so bad, you have to hold your breath to take in the views.

Above: Seals, sea lions and sea birds inhabit the rocks along the sandstone cliffs at La Jolla Cove.

The source of the foul smell at La Jolla Cove is bird and seal feces, according to locals and business owners. They say a growing population of the marine creatures, along with their abundance of excrement, is stinking up the protected sandstone cliffs.

Seal lions, seals and birds rest on rocks along La Jolla Cove, while scuba di...
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Above: Seal lions, seals and birds rest on rocks along La Jolla Cove, while scuba divers and snorkelers explore the underwater ecological reserve, January 16, 2012.


Aired 1/17/12

La Jolla Cove offers some of the most breathtaking views in San Diego County. But some people say the area smells so bad, you have to hold your breath to take in the views.

Visitors to the Cove on Sunday described the odor: “It's pungent, very pungent,“ said Brent Mosley from Fresno. “It has a very powerful smell, very strong odor. It smells like the wildlife,” described Stephanie Hathaway from Carlsbad. "Kind of a fishy ocean smell, obviously from the seals," said Dave Whiteside of San Diego.

Many people said they don't mind the unpleasant scent, including San Diego resident Amy Vogler. "There are obviously animals that are living here, and just like when you go to the zoo, you have certain smells that you smell when you visit certain animals, and that never bothers me either because I enjoy watching the animals," she said.

La Jolla Foundation Chairman Mitch Thrower disagrees. "People who are not offended probably don't live or own businesses in La Jolla, where a marine population has been encouraged to take up residence in this area."

Thrower said an exploding seal population is changing the ambiance of the seaside village.

“It’s a lot bigger than it ever was and it smells worse than it ever did and they’ve become a bigger problem than they ever were. You’ll literally see kids walking down the street holding their noses saying ‘let’s go back to Del Mar.’ ”

Thrower has launched an aroma fund to raise up to $50,000 for an organic odor treatment. Thrower said the product would be something similar to ones used at SeaWorld or the zoo.

“Obviously we’re just looking for something that just works on the smell, that doesn’t affect the biology.”

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Avatar for user 'imominous'

imominous | January 17, 2012 at 2:17 p.m. ― 5 years ago

When you buy a house under the flight path, don't complain about the airport. The stench near the Cove is best described as "pungent." And there are rocks covered in guano and cormorants, pelicans and gulls. Don't forget the osprey who perches on the light pole. They can hurl considerable guano.

Suck it up, folks. You moved next to a nice wildlife habitat and I seriously doubt the state is going to let you sprinkle Carpet Fresh over the area.

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Avatar for user 'Califia'

Califia | January 18, 2012 at 3:39 p.m. ― 5 years ago

Residents and visitors shouldn't need to "suck it up" and put up with the smell when practical solutions area available. Zoos and Marine Parks are constantly cleaning up after the animals in their care using some of the same products proposed here.

Mitch Thrower's approach to privately fund this project through donations from those most effected is reasonable and should be given full consideration.

Don't wait for the City of San Diego to do anything to benefit La Jolla. All the City wants is to extract tax money out of the community and claim helplessness to do anything to resolve problems.

City leaders should check the motivations of those they seek advice from. They often don't have the public interest at heart but rather have a misguided personal agenda.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | January 18, 2012 at 5:44 p.m. ― 5 years ago

The residents should absolutely have to suck it p. it is nature, you chose to live there, to suggest we need to "clean" a natural habitat the same way you would need to clean a cage at the zoo is ridiculous.

This certainly doesn't help LJ's reputation as a haven for cranky old rich people who have way too much time on their hands and like to complain about nothing.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | January 18, 2012 at 5:48 p.m. ― 5 years ago

And I don't care where Thrower is getting his money from, people should not be allowed to simply introduce chemicals or foreign substances to a natural habitat simply because they have the money to pay for it.

Who knows what kind of environmental damage this guy could cause.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | January 19, 2012 at 11:51 a.m. ― 5 years ago

You know you're at the top when your biggest complaint is the temporary interruption of your Chanel No. 5 spritzed mansion with the smell of the outside world.

The La Jolla Foundation should embrace the environment rather than trying to control it.

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Avatar for user 'rmkedward'

rmkedward | January 19, 2012 at 1:41 p.m. ― 5 years ago

The marine mammals referred to in the photo are California Sea Lions and not seals!! They have been ranging up and down this coast for about 20 million years. What's going to happen when they ask for "Eminant Domain ?" Get it right people!!

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Avatar for user 'KP'

KP | January 20, 2012 at 2:41 p.m. ― 5 years ago

To Peking Duck,
People should not be allowed to simply introduce Seals to a unnatural habitat like Children's Pool just so the selfish humans can enjoy watching them, suck it up go to Sea World and pay admission.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | January 20, 2012 at 7:14 p.m. ― 5 years ago

@kp, thanks for the chuckle this evening, your comment is simply rich.

You think that allowing seals to remain in a place they came to where they are free to swim and leave to go somewhere else is "selfish", but caging them at sea world where they can't swim in the open sea and must do stupid tricks for screaming children at whim is perfectly acceptable?

I don't know what they put in the water at the La Jolla polo and golf clubs, but you "children's pool" fanatics are as nutty as a Fruitcake.

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