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.
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