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: Genome reveals how Hessian fly causes galls in wheat

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NY surveying banks on cyber security defenses

2 hours ago

(AP)—New York financial regulators are considering tougher cyber security requirements for banks to mandate more complex computer sign-ins and certifications from the contractors of their cyber defenses, the state's top ...

Life-saving train design is rarely used

3 hours ago

(AP)—Nearly a decade ago, the U.S. secretary of transportation stood at the site of a horrendous commuter train crash near downtown Los Angeles and called for the adoption of a new train car design that ...

Climate change may flatten famed surfing waves

3 hours ago

On a summer day in 1885, three Hawaiian princes surfed at the mouth of the San Lorenzo River on crudely constructed boards made from coastal redwoods, bringing the sport to the North American mainland.

Recommended for you

Parasite provides clues to evolution of plant diseases

4 hours ago

A new study into the generalist parasite Albugo candida (A. candida), cause of white rust of brassicas, has revealed key insights into the evolution of plant diseases to aid agriculture and global food security.

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

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.