A mass migration of sea lions is making a splash, with hundreds taking over the sandy shores of a Ventura County beach.
Sea lions have historically lived in Silver Strand Beach but in recent years, many more have made their way over, a migration that’s mostly caused by human influences.
Many sea lions can be seen relaxing and sunbathing on the sands of Silver Strand Beach in Oxnard.
“This is their place,” Connie Korenstein, a Silver Strand resident, tells KTLA’s John Fenoglio. “I feel honored that they’ve chosen to be here.”
Korenstein lives across the street from Kiddie Beach in Silver Strand, which is a popular destination for tourists in the summertime.
Just a few months ago, hundreds of mostly young sea lions started moving in, nestling into their new home on the shore.
“People come and look at them for hours and hours and you can do that because they’re just so beautiful, they’re magnificent creatures,” said Korenstein. “ They’re not a problem and they’re not a nuisance.”
Some residents, however, were less than pleased with the new neighbors.
“There’s just so many of them,” said Westin, a 10-year-old boy. “I’ve never seen this happen before.”
Westin visits his grandmother who lives in the area and they would typically go swimming together in the beach before the recent influx of sea lions moved in.
When asked what the area now smells like, Westin said, “It kind of smells like poop.”
Other residents though, aren’t really bothered by the scent.
“I mean that’s how they smell,” said an Oxnard man named Bruce. He says some folks just don’t like the smell of the beach or the ocean yet others enjoy the scent greatly. He doesn’t believe it’s a big deal.
Although sea lions have always lived in the area, what exactly is causing the current influx and migration? One expert says human interactions and climate change are the top contributors.
“We have a lot of construction along the coastline,” explains Sam Dover, Founder and chief veterinarian of the Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute. “There’s work being done on the Channel Islands and Ventura harbors, they’re rehabbing the place and a lot of animals that would normally be on docks or remote places are now being displaced because of the construction and human activity. So they’re finding other places to call home.”