SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Video of sea lions appearing to chase after a crowd of people on a La Jolla beach has gone viral on social media.
In the footage, shot over the weekend by Charlianne Yeyna, two sea lions are seen moving quickly towards a group of people on the sand at La Jolla Cove.
“They aren’t the fastest creatures … I couldn’t imagine being down there. I’m sure it was terrifying to see that come after you," said Yeyna, who was in town visiting from Riverside.
While the video appears to show the sea lions charging at the beachgoers, Robyn Davidoff with the Sierra Club Seal Society said that’s not the case.
Davidoff said the sea lions were actually chasing each other as the humans happened to be in the area.
In the video, when one sea lion heads into the water, the other immediately follows. The two sea lions in the video were identified as young males, and Davidoff said they are not big enough to challenge the larger bulls for mating rights, so they are challenging each other.
"So what they do is they chase each other off the area to establish dominance. So it's kind of like a brother or sister playing king of the mountain. And that's what they were doing," Davidoff said.
Experts like Davidoff are reminding visitors to be aware that this time of year is mating season for sea lions. Visitors are urged to stay as far away as possible.
The Sierra Club told 10News action has already been taken to give sea lions space during mating season.
"Closing point La Jolla and Boomers is a huge step. It’s the first time this year that the California Coastal Commission has agreed to close this area during the breeding season," said Carol Toye, Sierra Club.
She suggested more preventative measures could be adding more warning signs and asking lifeguards to make more announcements warning beachgoers.
“We understand that lifeguards are here mainly to keep people safe but I think maybe if lifeguards could make a few more announcements when people are in the area to remind people not to get too close," said Toye.
There were no reported injuries to any humans or sea lions related to the incident.