A large gang of sea lions has taken over three docks at Ventura Harbor in California, and the National Park Service isn’t sure how to tell them delicately that their presence is unwanted.
The animals have previously been a common sight on the large buoys that lead out of the harbor, but this is the first time they have appropriated real estate within the harbor itself.
They have quickly become a popular attraction for locals and visitors. They even appear to enjoy the attention, putting on a show of barking and frolicking in the water for spectators.
However, their presence poses potential safety hazards for viewers who get too close. In addition, the weight of the appealingly pudgy creatures may also be overloading the docks, one of which is starting to list.
The sea lions, who are protected against harassment under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, appear to be unafraid of human passers-by. And no one is eager to tell an 860 pound animal with sharp teeth where it can sleep.
The Park Service wants its docks back, however, so officials are now trying to come up with a method of shooing them away, probably involving noise or flashing lights.
This video is from KTLA in Los Angeles, May 25, 2012.