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Seal Webcam Is Live in La Jolla

The new seal webcam installed at the Children's Pool in La Jolla was unveiled Thursday afternoon; it had already been vandalized over the weekend.

You can now watch the seals at La Jolla’s Children’s Pool live online. The Western Alliance for Nature, a land conversancy nonprofit, installed a seal webcam atop an old San Diego Lifeguard Tower overlooking the controversial beach.

You can watch the marine mammals lounge, frolic and even give birth online at wanconservancy.org and sandiego.gov/mayor. Locals can also watch the “seal cam” on City TV Channel 24 between regularly scheduled meetings city meetings.

The camera is the first and only seal cam on the West Coast, according to Larry Wan, founder of the WAN Conservancy, who funding the camera and installation.

Wan said he was pleased to provide everyone the ability to live stream a view of the seals at the Children’s Pool. The HD camera will stream 24-7, including infrared streaming video overnight, when the seals typically have their young.

“The streaming video not only provide nonintrusive enjoyment of San Diego’s natural treasure to inspire love and care for these wonders of nature, but will support research by scientists at NOAA and various education institutions,” he said.

Sara Wan, Larry’s wife and former California Coastal Commissioner, said the said the camera was $40,000.

“We are honored to be able to provide an up close view of these amazing creatures to not just San Diegans, but people all over the world,” Sara Wan said. “We hope that providing a way to study and watch these animals will not only tell us more about them, but also provide a way to make sure they are respected.”

Like the controversy over the length of the guide rope at the man-made beach and the debate between marine mammal protection and beach access advocates, there is already drama with the webcam.

The camera, which went live over the weekend, has already been vandalized. Wan reported that a liquid was sprayed up onto the lens of the camera overnight. The liquid coated the lens and blurred the video.

“We can not allow a few people to spoil this incredible, international opportunity for people from all over the world to say San Diego respects science, it respects nature, it respects all living things and we respect people all at the same time,” said Bob Filner who hosted a press conference to “unveil” the seal cam on Thursday afternoon.

“I don’t see it as a controversy. I just can’t imagine what these kids are being taught by harassing seals... I guess we will have to bring education to a higher level and show some enforcement here,” he added.

David Pierce argued that the webcam did not have the proper permits. In an email, he said, “Without going through local agency's of La Jolla or even the city council, SD Planing Commission for a site development permit or the California Coastal Commission for a coastal development permit on state tidelands, Mayor Filner has approved a web camera to be installed at the Children's Pool for pupping season.”

“Mayor Filner has bypassed the permitting process again, just as he did when he extended the pupping season rope violating the city's permit to do so in December. Mayor Filner should be setting an example for it's citizens to follow, not to violate the law, but to go through it's governmental process,” he said.

Filner’s office attests that they did have all the proper permitting.

What do you think of the seal cam? Tell us in the comment section below.

Diane Rauch February 01, 2013 at 01:25 AM
Good for you Bob Filner. It's nice to know that someone cares for nature instead of just themselves.
Sara Ohara February 02, 2013 at 12:39 AM
THANK YOU so much for stepping up and protecting those that cannot protect themselves, the seals. You are a man of your word and I am looking forward to helping you in any way I can. You promised and you came through - so rare these days!
Califia February 02, 2013 at 04:56 AM
[“I don’t see it as a controversy. I just can’t imagine what these kids are being taught by harassing seals... I guess we will have to bring education to a higher level and show some enforcement here,” he (Filner) added.] Oh really Mayor Filner? Implying children playing on the beach at Children's Pool is somehow a criminal act? Incredible! Mayor Filner, the corral you would have the children be confined to behind the "advisory" rope barrier doesn't allow anyone to get to the shoreline at Children's Pool. Not everyone wants to go to the beach and just look at the water Mayor Filner. This beach was constructed to be used by people. Yes, man-made. Not natural. Not "nature" but Inhabited by tamed offspring from Sea World's secret release of captive Harbor Seals right offshore for 11 years. How difficult is that to understand. Your version of shared use is not backed up in law; as much as you would like to take away the people's right to enjoy and use this public beach.
Califia February 02, 2013 at 04:57 AM
How does your flawed thinking square with the intent of the Children's Pool? A gift to the City and put into Trust. Maybe you should brush up on the Cal. Coastal Act and the Children's Pool State Tidelands Trust which placed into law and protected the intended uses at Children's Pool to prevent the political pandering to campaign donors put on full display at your press conference yesterday. You're not in DC any longer. And now you have enabled a private organization to conduct "research" on anyone crossing the "advisory" rope as if they are criminals. Watching seals is great but not really what the camera was installed for. It will be following any person daring to cross that "advisory" rope barrier and try to make them out as criminals. Mayor Filner, you should be ashamed of yourself.
ljswimmer February 02, 2013 at 06:01 AM
Hi Mayor Filner. We are going to plant some rare nesting birds in front of your house and advertise the attraction on the internet. Then we will route all the traffic with all the pollution, garbage left behind and congestion that comes with the crowds right up to the front door of your residence. And then we plan to install a camera to make sure the you don't do anything to disrupt the attraction. Then we will see how much you like it.
ljswimmer February 02, 2013 at 06:05 AM
The opinion of Jane Reldan is not representative of the wishes of the community of la jolla. It is obvious by your rash, law-breaking actions that you have your own self-serving agenda and that you could not give a flip about the wishes of the community of la jolla which is in stark contrast to what you said to get elected.
4RBeach February 02, 2013 at 06:53 AM
Former California Coastal Commissioner Sara Wan , you should be ashamed of your self serving on the Commission, as the main reason of this Commission is to protect HUMAN access to the ocean, and on the only MAN MADE BEACH in California intrusted to Children, do you enjoy steeling candy from a child! You Live in Malibu, not San Diego, so you do not know of the seal colony below the water treatment plant in Point Loma ? I guess Dr. Jane didn't tell you of this. Has she told you of the President of the Friends of the Seals Ellen Shively that was convicted for spitting on a diver and has a restraining order to keep away from the Children's Pool? and others for assault and battery like Marjane Aalam for battery on a minor, and most of all Bryan "Stun Gun" Pease for attacking a swimmer on this beach with a stun gun? Sara Wan, and Dr. Jane, you are in good company.
Ryan Sweeney February 02, 2013 at 06:53 AM
Mayor Filner not only should you be ashamed of yourself for being so easily duped by these supposed "seal protection" groups and their fringe stance on whats good for OUR community, but you have blatantly disregarded the integrity of our local laws and you are disrespecting the agencies that are in place to implement proper procedures. There is nothing natural about this man made attraction that was generously donated to the "people". It is the only beach on the west coast that has been built with the safety of our community in mind. It is unbelievable that you have chosen to perpetuate this problem that continues to leave san diego open for law suits & has already cost us tax payers so much money. What happens when the seals outgrow CP & continue to migrate to the other neighboring beaches as they already have from seal rock? Do we close those beaches too?
Ryan Sweeney February 02, 2013 at 07:09 AM
So, who exactly is controlling the camera? It seems to focus on people legally using the beach at times... Is this what big brother looks like? So now san diego is in the business of empowering environmental groups to battle the community? Crazy
Bob Ewing February 02, 2013 at 02:33 PM
Lets face it, we have a Mayor that has a D.C. mind set. He will shove his agenda up our throats as he pays back all his IOU's. Jane Reldon is a bitter, bitter old woman with money, I think. No one that I am associated with in the shared use group is against seals being on the beach. We do not want them to have a priority over children. I have asked tourists that come there and most are disappointed in what they see. Those that are pro seals and pro seal camera have no use for the ocean. Ignorance is the best way to describe their mentality. Most are an entitled elite. This camera installation will back fire. Do I hear "recall"l in the wind?
Bob Ewing February 03, 2013 at 02:36 PM
One can tell how often Filner gets out to enjoy nature. He is in it for himself. That does not occur to the money bags like Reldon and Navarro.
Bob Ewing February 03, 2013 at 02:38 PM
How much did you donate to him?
Stella Taylor March 11, 2013 at 05:42 PM
I strongly support the Webcam and the protection of the breeding ground of the harbor seals, as the majority of La Jolla residents do. People have numerous choices of places to swim, without disrupting the harbor seal's breeding grounds. I don't think mankind is entitled to claim all rights over nature's inherit right to inhabit this earth, and I think it is a privilege to have the seals here. It is demonstrated by the huge numbers of people that flock to see the seals and their pups.
John M March 20, 2013 at 09:24 AM
As one of the few objective opinions on this topic here, I am stunned and appalled at the ignorance of some people in this posting. First, being granted such amenities is a privilege, not a right. if you want to protect the amenity, make sure that the amenity is being used for the reasons it was intended and not being abused. People abusing privilege leads to the removal of that privilege. It amazes me that grown adults fail to understand this basic concept. Second, the area is only temporarily closed from dusk to dawn. The location is open most of the day, so schedule to use it when it is open, if you are so enamored with the privilege. Third, the action is being taken because seals are being abused by people. If people used the beach and left them alone, there would have been no problem - once again, abuse the privilege and it will be taken from you. Whether or not you agree with the action, wildlife is afforded the same opportunity as would be you and has every right to live without being harassed. If you want to be upset, be upset with those who actually harassed the seals on the beach leading to this action or the local police who, if patrols were more frequent prior to the incidents, may have curtailed the problem before action was required; not at those who take the steps to protect wildlife and the public. Finally, with today's technology, you can be tracked in ways you don't even know. A camera is no threat to anyone on public property.
CW March 20, 2013 at 02:33 PM
Just to follow up on John M's statement, I wish this group who is so offended by this evil mayor, would do a little thinking. We have all had our privacy invaded by Google and their space cams more than any seal cam. And as far as using "the children" to shove their point down everyone's throat, why don't they take this opportunity to use the seal cam to teach "the children" about appreciation for their environment and community. What good is it to live on the coast when we don't protect our natural inhabitants?
Sandra Albert March 20, 2013 at 10:00 PM
I no longer live in San Diego but I lived there through my teenage years and young adulthood. My heart will always belong to the most beautiful city on earth. I find it appalling that city officials neglected to keep the CP as it was originally intended and then failed to abide by the rope length for shared public access that was agreed upon. I for one am tired of those with deep pockets using their financial means to further their own agenda while the rightful recipients (children) are denied what was given to them. Since offending the party responsible for the seals being there in the first place (Sea World) is feared by the City and who will never be made accountable for their relocation, shared access is a solution that will work. From what I have watched on the web cam feed, the seals are most tolerant, some even seem to enjoy interacting with people on the beach. I would think the constant public harassment by the activist would be more stressful on them. It is childish and unproductive only resulting in ill will and aggression. Who are they to dictate who has access anyway? Especially when municipal codes and city ordinances say differently. The lifeguard station and access for the disabled should be where the City funding is being spent not on frivolous lawsuits and Big Brother tactics. It is time for the retaliation events to stop and a peaceful compromise to be reached for the benefit of all concerned.
Bill Powers May 28, 2013 at 12:50 PM
Well, it seems Michelle Mowad's article above is incomplete. You have David Pierce asserting the mayor's office did not have the proper permitting to put the video cam in place. You also have the Mayor's office asserting (in this article) they did (do) in fact have the proper permits. Which is true? How about a simple fact check, Michelle? Isn't that what journalists do?

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