This website will be providing information about seals and sea lions, and about the documentary in production, "Sentinels of the Sea", as well as other educational programs and media.
La Jolla Harbor Seals and other wildlife:
Sea lions and fur seals are still challenged in 2016 with food supply shortages. UME'S (Unusual Mortality Events) have been noted for sea lions and fur seals along the California coast.
La Jolla is home to a unique colony of harbor seals at Casa Beach. Harbor seals are "true seals", or "phocids", meaning that they have no external ear flaps, have short flippers, and move with an inching motion on land; they are fast and agile in the water. By contrast, sea lions are "eared seals", with external ear flaps, and with large flippers, and they "walk" on land.
Harbor seals need to "haul out" on to a land surface on a daily or regular basis. During the spring, they also give birth, typically to a single pup. At this time, the "haulout site" is also a "rookery site".
It is important to allow the seals and their pups to rest without disturbance. Mothers and pups need to bond without disturbance. This is essential to the survival of the pup.
The 2015-2016 pupping season for harbor seals at Casa Beach has been off to a rough start. Over 20 pups have been born that have not survived. Some have been rescued. This high pup mortality may be due to a variety of factors. In recent weeks, several more pups have been born, and appear to be surviving. Many have now been weaned. Although the gestation period for harbor seals is between nine and eleven months, they only remain with the mother for four to six weeks. During this time they need to learn about the ocean environment, how to swim and dive, and other survival skills.
As summer approaches, continued access to the haul out site without disturbance is essential for the seals. Newly weaned pups need to rest, and the annual molt also creates a need for time on land.
See more on the seal and sea lion update page on this site.
See the Documentary page for updates and producer information on this full length feature documentary in production. The Sierra Club Magazine and Sealwatch.org support the documentary.
Seals and Sea Lions are "Sentinels of the Sea". They are "pinnipeds", marine mammals with fur that must haul out onto land on a regular basis. They have many fascinating behaviors, are highly intelligent, and have special adaptations that allow them to remain underwater for extended periods of time even though they are air breathing animals. They are "indicator" species that provide a reflection or barometer of many ocean and coastal conditions, and of factors affecting the health of these habitats. Many of these factors affect humans as well. Learn more about seals and sea lions as "sentinels" of ocean conditions in this upcoming production "Sentinels of the Sea" nearing completion.
Species from around the world will be featured. Other ocean species will be featured, including manta rays, whale sharks, and more. Many of these species also reflect the impacts of human activity.
Rare and beautiful footage will be included, of playful seals and sea lions underwater, engaged in natural behaviors, and showing mothers and pups on land. The amazing rookery site at Casa beach will be featured, with world class views of mothers and pups. Rare footage of Hawaiian Monk Seals will also be included.
Expert interviews with pinniped specialists, presentations about ecology and conservation challenges, and more, will be presented. This will include the problem of "ghost gear", pollution, plastic marine debris, disturbance and harassment, ocean noise, boat strikes, and entanglement. This documentary is being produced by an award winning filmmaker. See film credits on documentary page. This is a full length feature documentary.
This website will be providing updates about the La Jolla harbor seals, along with documentary updates, educational program opportunities, and updated photos and videos.
A short informational documentary, "Seals and Sea Lions" will be available, providing basic information about several pinniped species, as a concise educational tutorial. Ordering information will be available soon.
Information about the full length feature documentary in production, "Sentinels of the Sea", will be updated with promos and trailers.
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