Sea lions refuse to budge in California

May 15, 2006

Male sea lions in search of females in Newport Beach, Calif., have refused to let go of their high perches atop boats despite efforts by authorities.

As in last year, the animals have returned to the bay to sunbathe and to woo the females with their characteristic barks. They stubbornly ignore such man-made defenses as motion-activated sprinklers, reports the Orange County (Calif.) Register.

"We don't pepper-spray them; we don't shoot them. I think people would like us to, but we don't," a harbor patrol member told the newspaper.

Observing one animal perched atop a boat, Robert Tighe at the angling club said, "He's actually been in there sitting in the cockpit like he's running the boat." Sympathizing with the boat's owner, Tighe said, "That poor guy was cleaning it out all day yesterday."

The barking serenade at night put on by a gang of sea lions roaming the harbor is also depriving residents of their sleep.

Some boats can sink when the animals come aboard since, as one official told the Register: "As soon as one is up, three jump on. And it only takes four to tip one of these boats."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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