Sea lions chase away beachgoers at San Diego’s La Jolla Cove

Sea lions: 1. Beachgoers: 0.

In a video that has racked up nearly 9 million views on TikTok, dozens of beachgoers at La Jolla Cove in San Diego were seen climbing down from a pair of sea lions last week.

Charlianne Yeyna, the witness who captured the video and posted it to social media, told NBC San Diego that she began filming on Friday when she observed a woman on the beach attempting to snap a photo of a snoozing to make sea lions.

The woman got about four feet too close to the sea lion, Yeyna said, and the sea lion didn’t seem too pleased with being awakened from its slumber and chasing her through the crowd of beachgoers. A second sea lion then joined the exodus and galloped toward swimmers entering the water.

“I started recording because it was really funny to watch all these tourists get blown away by these giant sea lions,” Yeyna told NBC.

While the video has drawn laughter and comment across the internet, wildlife experts are warning of the dangers of getting too close to wild animals – no matter how cute they may seem.

Sea lions are not an uncommon sight at La Jolla Cove, a protected marine area that is part of the San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve. Signs posted around the beach warn beachgoers of the aggressive nature of sea lions and remind them that harassing the flabby pinnipeds is against federal law.

In May, the San Diego City Council approved an ordinance for a seasonal closure of Point La Jolla and Boomer Beach during the sea lion mating season, which lasts from May 1 to October 31, after the city reported an increase in wildlife reports the beach is turned from harassed visitors.

“With the growing sea lion population, Point La Jolla has become a popular tourist destination for the public to see these wild animals up close. … Members of the public have been observed attempting to touch sea lions, take selfies and get as close as possible to them, which is potentially dangerous not only for the animals but also for the public,” said a staffer City report on the March proposal.

Yeyna said she’s glad the video went viral to raise awareness of the dangers of trying to interact with wildlife.

“They’re still wild animals and you have to give them their place,” she said. “You are also protected. So I think that shows that you shouldn’t mess with them.” Sea lions chase away beachgoers at San Diego’s La Jolla Cove

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