Concerning the Washington Post article on sea lions (“Sea lions have made a magnificent comeback, and they want their beaches back”): Jason Bittel covers information not typical to stories about sea lions. That is good and refreshing.
However, what is not reported is that the occupation of the mainland by seals and sea lions is not natural. Historically, we had grizzly bears, wolves and other predators on the mainland that harassed seals and sea lions. These animals were forced to occupy offshore islands and wash rocks, keeping their populations in check.
The Marine Mammal Protection Act has had the effect of altering marine ecology by allowing these animals access to mainland beaches, docks, parking lots and even freeways. The situation has been out of control for a long time. Sea lions can also be found in rivers far inland, foraging on salmon.
It occurs to me that it is not humane to allow populations of animals to grow beyond what is sustainable. We do not allow dogs and cats to do this, nor deer. Why is it OK for marine mammals?
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The author also fails to identify the many fisheries in California lost to seals and sea lions. The economic effects have been staggering to coastal economies.
Steve Rebuck, San Luis Obispo