The fragile first days: seal pups in California

Written by

No one likes to see a sign reading “beach closed.” But from December through May, that’s exactly what you’ll see on a small stretch of shoreline between the Carpinteria State Beach and Rincon Point. That’s because it’s pupping season, and about 100 seal moms have chosen that spot to return to annually to give birth.


This is an exciting time for those who visit the trails along the beautiful bluff above the rookery. But, it’s a fragile time for the seal moms and pups. Loud noises or disturbances, like dogs, can scare the animals into the water, and break the bond between mom and pup, lessening the likelihood of survival.

That’s why volunteers from Seal Watch are on the lookout. From sunrise to sunset, these volunteers stand above the rookery and monitor both seal and human activity. They may seem like hushing librarians to passersby, but are helping to protect the lives of pups below.