Sea lions chase crowds off California beach in viral video

A viral video on TikTok shows two large sea lions chasing beachgoers on a crowded California beach on Friday, raising concerns about human encroachment on animal territory.

TikTok user Charlianne Yeyna said BNC News that she took the images at La Jolla Cove, a small beach lined with cliffs on both sides, in La Jolla, San Diego.

“The sea lions were sleeping and just massive on the beach and I was just looking at them and this woman walked up to them, about 4 feet away, and was trying to take a picture up close, and it just woke up and started chasing everyone,” Yeyna said.

California sea lions are generally skittish around humans, but the males aggressively defend their territory during the breeding season, which falls in the summer. It’s not known if the animals in the video are male, but John Hildebrand, a professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, thinks they might be.

“During the breeding season, male sea lions will try to establish territories and gather a harem of females,” Hildebrand written in an email. “I’m not sure if the animal in the TikTok is a male, but if so, it would make sense that he was trying to keep people out of an area he defends to guard his females. “

Hildebrand added that La Jolla Cove sea lions are wild animals and when they aggressively approach people it can be dangerous to sea lions and humans.

Hildebrand said he saw an entire wedding party (the bride, groom, best man and bridesmaids) trying to gather around a group of sea lions at La Jolla Cove as part of a Photo shoot.

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