Opinion: We should protect, not destroy, seal habitat

By Florence L. Lambert

La Jolla

Our piece of paradise, the Village of La Jolla, has been abundantly blessed with many natural wonders, among them, the seals who have chosen to grace us with their presence at the Casa/Children’s Pool. They truly are a community treasure.

In our fast-paced world, it’s a welcome diversion to watch these graceful creatures move gently in and out of the ocean, and rest contentedly on the beach. Observing the seals’ trust, peacefulness and harmony, and watching their unfettered natural behavior are not only pleasant and entertaining, it brings peace and harmony to our own souls as well. One leaves richer for having been there. To co-exist so closely with another species is indeed a rare privilege.

This small area is the only seal rookery on the Southern California mainland, south of Carpenteria. And it presents a one-of-a-kind educational experience for over a million people a year. It is ecotourism at it’s finest.

Our nation, along with others, decries countries that poach, cull or kill their wild animals. We condemn countries for encroaching on habitat and displacing wildlife. Yet some want to do here, that which we condemn in others.

I am ashamed of and saddened by the selfish, vocal, insensitive few who are trying to destroy this unique natural wonder. We have 73 miles of recreational costal beaches within San Diego County — that’s 385,440 feet of coastline. Can’t we allow the seals to have just 300 feet? After all, we have already seized, polluted and destroyed much of their habitat. According to the lifeguard census, in 2009, there were over 2 million visitors to the Casa Children’s Pool.I would like to quote a friend of mine, Virginia McKenna, co-star of the movie “Born Free” and co-founder of the Born Free Foundation… “We can no longer pass through paradise in a dream. It is vanishing before our eyes and at out hands … Before it is gone forever, we must put ourselves into our true perspective as sharers of the Earth, as compassionate protectors, not as masters.”