Sea Lions Dart Onto Beach And Appear To Chase Tourists Away
While a viral TikTok video appears to show a group of sea lions charging at tourists, an expert says they were likely just chasing each other.
A TikTok video showing dozens of San Diego beachgoers running and jumping out of the way of two fast-moving sea lions has generated nearly 10 million views and sparked conversations about whether the mammals were going after people and reclaiming picturesque La Jolla Cove's narrow strip of sand.
But sea lion expert Eric Otjen of SeaWorld San Diego said what he saw was normal sea lion behavior for this time of year, when males are sparring as breeding season gets underway.
Otjen said the male flopping along at a rapid-fire pace as he darted around people was fleeing from the other male closer to the water's edge that was chasing him because they were likely fighting over which females they could get. Both sea lions had ample opportunities to attack people but instead barreled past them, he said.
"He's got swimmers all around him on his way back out, but they don't bother him. What this is all about is his right to mate," Otjen said, adding: "This behavior is not uncommon at all. The reason why the video has gotten like 10 millions views is because everybody is running like Godzilla is chasing them."
And with good reason, he added.
"It may look funny that everybody is running, but it's not a bad choice. You don't want to be caught in the crossfire," Otjen said. "Even if they don't bite, it's not a great feeling to have 200 to 300 pounds roll over you."
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's guidelines, people should stay at least 50 feet away from sea lions, seals and other species protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Otjen said for questions on behavior of the animals or to report a sick or injured animal, people can all SeaWorld's hotline at 800-541-7325.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.
Mountain lion claws man sitting in hot tub
A couple was sitting in a hot tub when they said a mountain lion clawed at the man's head.
Wild cat found in Cincinnati neighborhood tests positive for cocaine
The serval was removed from a tree in a Cincinnati neighborhood. A narcotics test confirmed it had been exposed to cocaine.
Man uses drone to get help while stranded in snow
The man launched a drone with his phone attached after becoming stuck in a remote area that had spotty cell phone service.
US, Canada end loophole that let asylum-seekers cross border
Authorities from both sides have been eager to end the process that allowed immigrants to pursue asylum cases without using official crossings.
FAA calls on airlines to help prevent another travel meltdown
The FAA is changing some practices due to recent runway incursion events, and addressing possible effects of staffing shortages.
Why are some citizens protesting in France?
Hundreds of people were arrested in clashes amid some the biggest protests so far against the raising of France's retirement age.