Sunday, September 04, 2005

Alert signaling the possible presence of a great white shark

Beachgoers along a mile-long stretch of La Jolla coastline were cautioned about the possible presence of a great white shark, following an apparent attack on a seal.

The warnings were issued after lifeguards at Children's Pool beach spotted a distressed and bleeding harbor seal with an 18-inch bite mark on its body. The adult seal, which appeared to have a crescent-shaped bite mark, was jumping in and out of the water erratically, Lt. Nick Lerma, a spokesman for the San Diego Lifeguard Service said.

Lifeguards in rescue boats told beachgoers a half-mile north and south of Children's Pool about the injured seal. "We knew there was a good likelihood that people would want to know, and we felt it was our obligation to tell them," Lerma said.

A fire department helicopter was dispatched to check the La Jolla coastline, but no sharks were spotted after a 20-minute search, Lerma said.

No one was ordered out of the water and no beaches were closed.

"Although we couldn't determine for certain that the seal's injuries were from a shark, we know sharks are out there and we know harbor seals are a natural prey item," Lerma said.
The Children's Pool is home to a colony of nearly 200 harbor seals.


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