San Diego 'seal-cam' catches people kicking, punching, sitting on seals; beach now closed at night

Beach has been center of seal protection debate

SAN DIEGO - San Diego’s mayor has ordered a beach to be closed at night after cameras captured people kicking, punching and sitting on top of mother seals and their pups.

Mayor Bob Filner said in a statement Tuesday that the La Jolla beach, known as Children's Pool, will be closed between sunset and sunrise until May 15. The beach is home to a colony of harbor seals.

A 24-hour "seal-cam" was introduced in January and equipped with night vision so researchers and the public could watch online as the seals give birth during pupping season.

Instead, the camera captured people abusing and harassing the seals and driving them from their resting places.

The beach has been the center of a long legal fight over human access versus seal protection.

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