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: Diabetes drug found in freshwater is a potential cause of intersex fish

Related Stories

Silicon Valley marks 50 years of Moore's Law

3 hours ago

Computers were the size of refrigerators when an engineer named Gordon Moore laid the foundations of Silicon Valley with a vision that became known as "Moore's Law."

The appeal of being anti-GMO

4 hours ago

A team of Belgian philosophers and plant biotechnologists have turned to cognitive science to explain why opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has become so widespread, despite positive contributions ...

Micro fingers for arranging single cells

4 hours ago

Functional analysis of a cell, which is the fundamental unit of life, is important for gaining new insights into medical and pharmaceutical fields. For efficiently studying cell functions, it is essential ...

Recommended for you

York's anti-malarial plant given Chinese approval

Apr 24, 2015

A new hybrid plant used in anti-malarial drug production, developed by scientists at the University of York's Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP), is now registered as a new variety in China.

The appeal of being anti-GMO

Apr 24, 2015

A team of Belgian philosophers and plant biotechnologists have turned to cognitive science to explain why opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has become so widespread, despite positive contributions ...

Micro fingers for arranging single cells

Apr 24, 2015

Functional analysis of a cell, which is the fundamental unit of life, is important for gaining new insights into medical and pharmaceutical fields. For efficiently studying cell functions, it is essential ...

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.