Marin County

Elephant Seals Take Over Beach in Marin County, Force Closure

Hundreds of the marine mammals migrate to Point Reyes National Seashore each year

Point Reyes National Seashore NPS

A large migration of male elephant seals Thursday shut down a beach at the Point Reyes National Seashore in the North Bay, according to a social media post from the National Park Service.

Drakes Beach in front of the Ken Patrick Visitor Center on the Marin County coast is temporarily closed because the elephant seals essentially have taken over the space, the park service said.

The beach will reopen when the seals move elsewhere, but there's no way of knowing when that will be, the park service said.

After near extinction in the early 20th century, the northern elephant seals returned to Point Reyes in the early 1970s. According to the National Park Service's most recent estimate, their winter population along the seashore is about 2,000.

Elephant seals are not known to attack humans, unless they are surprised or approached too closely, the park service said.

People are advised to stay at least 100 feet away from the seals. Any change in elephant seal behavior caused by a person is a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the park service said.

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