After a spring and summer of fun and recreation on one of our finest protected beaches, known locally as Children's Pool, or Casa, we humans are in for a spectacular display of Mother Nature with the onset of the annual harbor seal "pupping season." The very pregnant female mothers-to-be have been spending more time on land as their nine months are about to end with newborns due February through early April.
For the seventh year, this urban beach is closed Dec. 15 through May 15 to give the seals privacy prior to giving birth, deliver the pups safely away from human interference (you may even see a birth if you are lucky) and teach the pup the necessary skills to survive on its own after a short six weeks of nursing.
Once weaned, and the weight gain almost doubled since birth and the pups now able to catch the fish, octopus, and shelled creatures needed for growth, the inseparable pair will part ways as the adult female's body prepares for mating with the returning male partners for the next year's reproductive cycle.
Visitors are not able to access the sands of Casa Beach as a chain link is secured midway down the stairs. Access to bathrooms and the historic seawall does remain open. However, excellent viewing is available from all sides of the upper sidewalk, on the seawall, and around the green gazebo. Winter swimming is abundantly available at other local beaches, such as Shell Beach, Boomers, La Jolla Shores, WindandSea, and the Cove.
When you come please observe the guidelines for optimal viewing such as keep the noise level down, don't go on the sand for any reason, never leave litter, keep dogs off Casa Beach all year long and be aware that lights from cameras and flashlights disturb the seals after dark.
The BBC made a film of Casa Beach in 2001, and made this observation: "The harbor seals of La Jolla are amongst less than a handful of (rookery) colonies in the world that have adapted to modern civilization; hardly anywhere is it possible to view these marine mammals at (such) close range."
Please enjoy the experience of the pupping season, and do your part to preserve this unique natural treasure for generations to come.