Seals head for California highway

Feb 04, 2008

A population explosion among California's elephant seals is creating headaches for motorists who drive the state's scenic coastal highway.

Officials say in recent weeks at least four of the 5,000-pound animals from the Piedras Blancas birthing area have gotten past fences designed to protect them and made their way onto Highway 1 near Hearst Castle, The Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

"When a 4,700-pound pickup truck meets a 5,000-pound seal, they both lose," says Ken Cummings, a docent with Friends of the Elephant Seal.

Biologist Brian Hatfield of the U.S. Geological Survey, says Piedras Blancas has grown from a few seals in 1990 to an estimated 16,000 in 2008.

"This year seems to be particularly bad," Hatfield said. "I'm not sure if it's overcrowding or if the barriers have just eroded."

Piedras Blancas birthing ground is the only rookery that is next to a major highway. It is one of the newest of an estimated 17 rookeries along the Pacific coast from the Gulf of Alaska to Baja, Mexico.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: Healthy humans make nice homes for viruses

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Graphene paints a corrosion-free future

16 minutes ago

The surface of graphene, a one atom thick sheet of carbon, can be randomly decorated with oxygen to create graphene oxide; a form of graphene that could have a significant impact on the chemical, pharmaceutical ...

Mexican 'water monster' salamander battles extinction

1 hour ago

Dubbed the "water monster" by the Aztecs, the axolotl salamander is battling extinction in the remnants of Mexico City's ancient lake, alarming scientists hoping mankind learns from its ability to regenerate organs.

Russian and American astronauts return to Earth

1 hour ago

Two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut returned to Earth on Thursday after spending more than six months working together aboard the International Space Station, as tensions between their countries ...

Recommended for you

Healthy humans make nice homes for viruses

7 hours ago

The same viruses that make us sick can take up residence in and on the human body without provoking a sneeze, cough or other troublesome symptom, according to new research at Washington University School ...

Meteorite that doomed dinosaurs remade forests

10 hours ago

The meteorite impact that spelled doom for the dinosaurs 66 million years ago decimated the evergreens among the flowering plants to a much greater extent than their deciduous peers, according to a study ...

New camera sheds light on mate choice of swordtail fish

11 hours ago

We have all seen a peacock show its extravagant, colorful tail feathers in courtship of a peahen. Now, a group of researchers have used a special camera developed by an engineer at Washington University in ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

bigwheel
not rated yet Feb 04, 2008
use them for food and clothing