January is the middle of the birthing and mating season — the male elephant seals are usually at the Piedras Blancas rookery from December to March. Males fight for dominance and the right to breed with the female elephant seals, according to Friends of the Elephant Seal. During the peak of mating season, about 90 percent of adult males will have fresh wounds from fights like these.
California State Parks is working on a new long-term plan for programs, facilities, campgrounds and off-highway vehicle activities at the Oceano Dunes, the largest and busiest campground in the state, and the only state park that allows off-road vehicles on the beach. Dena Bellman, associate park and recreation specialist, talks about some of the possible changes to the popular park.
Here's how the Oceano Dunes were "shaped and sculpted into what we see today." Ronnie Glick, a senior environmental scientist, explains this natural 'geologic wonder' in southern San Luis Obispo County.
California sea lions have made a dramatic recovery across the West Coast under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. The number of sea lions has tripled from fewer than 89,000 in 1975 to 257,000 in 2014, according to a recent study. In Morro Bay, “They are fat and happy right now,” said Matthew Ashton, chief Harbor Patrol officer for the Port San Luis Harbor District.
Allison Gong, a Santa Cruz-based marine biologist and biology professor, came across hundreds of birds cawing loudly in Monterey Bay on September 1, 2017. "This is what it's like to be in a mixed flock of sooty shearwaters and common murres," she tweeted.