Last login: Saturday, July 11, 2009
Man has taken advantage of and destroyed wildlife habitats for years, but now even third-world countries have been wise enough to take measures to protect these habitats and the wildlife living there. If one takes the time to watch the BBC movie Planet Earth, you will get an idea of the huge number of animals and birds that are threatened with extinction.
Although the seal population in California is healthy and the seals are not classified as "threatened", the population is NOT exploding as some claim as confirmed by National Marine Fisheries experts. ALL marine mammals are protected from harassment under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
The City and Mayor, as well as the State Senate and Assembly, have been wise in seeking to end the controversy over the seals. Adding another use to the original 1931 Tidelands trust by adding "marine mammal park for the enjoyment and educational benefit of children" to the list of allowable uses for the Casa Beach has been a huge accomplishment for which they should be commended. It is NOT breaking the trust, but simply AMENDING it as the situation has changed since 1931. Ellen Browning Scripps, as an environmentalist, would certainly support the change if she were alive.
The majority of San Diegans support protecting the seals and certainly will support the City if it decides to explore the concept of a marine mammal park at Casa Beach. It is a shame that others continue to pursue their own personal vendetta against the seals by being selfish and hoping to deny future generations of the wonderment of seeing wildlife in its natural environment.
July 12, 2009 at 7:14 a.m.
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Casa Beach IS the ONLY harbor seal rookery in Southern California where people can watch the seals WITHOUT disturbing their natural behavior. With the pasaage of time and sand built up, the seals started coming to the beach because the manmade wall made it a safe place for seals to haul out and give birth to their pups. That sums up why in fact it IS a rookery. For those in doubt, just look it up in the dictionary. Prior to that, historical records show that seals have been in the area for centuries. It's not a recent phenomen.
If the seals are forced to leave, they won't find another home because they have a high degree of site fidelity which means they return to the place they were born to give birth. It will be a waste of money if a judge's orders force the City to disperse the seals or dredge the beach. The sand and seals will keep coming back. Some seals may try to haul out on other San Diego beaches which would mean Parks and Rec employees and the SD Police Department will be running from beach to beach trying to keep the seals off other beaches.
Wouldn't you rather see your taxpayer dollars being spent on police protection on public safety? Wouldn't you rather see Parks personnel keeping San Diego parks clean and beautiful after visitors dump their trash and garbage on the grass and sand rather than using trash cans that are provided? If additional personnel need to be hired, this means that other public services will suffer. In additon, do you want to see the City wasting millions of dollars dispersing the seals and dredging the beach? I can think of a hundred other much-needed projects that would provide direct benefits to City residents.
Some claim Sea World dumped the seals at Casa Beach. It is true that Sea World rescues and rehabilitates injured and sick animals, but from 1988-2006 Sea World only released 47 animals within 5 miles of the beach which averages out to ONLY 2.5 ANIMALS PER YEAR! So when anti-seal activists make there claim the beach became a rookery because of Sea World's releases, the argument is false.
Humans "pollute" the ocean thousands times over what this small harbor seal colony does. However, seal fecal matter helps keep the natural ecosystem in balance. It consists of beneficial nutrients for the near-shore ecosystem which dissipate almost immediately as they provide food for invertebrates and scavenger species. These nutrients then pass up the food chain to nurture the spiny lobsters and fish sought by humans. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the harmful contaminants that are dumped into the ocean on a regular basis by man.
July 11, 2009 at 2:54 p.m.
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