Support the Friends of the Elephant Seals in protecting the “bachelor” elephant seals at William R. Hearst Memorial Beach in San Simeon

Dozens of displaced male seals seek refuge every year at William R. Hearst Memorial Beach. They are driven off the breeding beaches by more dominant bulls (adult male seals) and often arrive at “the bachelor beach” bruised and battered. Having fled in a dramatic fashion, they look for a place to haul-out and rest undisturbed. However, this popular public beach destination is also populated with hundreds of human visitors on busy weekends.

Can you count the number of seals on the beach?  (answer below)

For the past two Winter seasons, the Friends of the Elephant Seal volunteers and State Park partners have educated the public and tried to keep these seals undisturbed and ensure the safety of beach visitors and their pets. At times during the winter season, there may be as many as 15 to 20 large male seals sharing the beach with visitors, their dogs and young toddlers! In addition, the seals often fight with each other and sometimes beach visitors end up in their path or between fighting or fleeing seals. Watch this video to see a typical scene between feuding elephant seals on this beach.

Many new visitors do not expect to see the seals and are surprised when they almost step on them. Other visitors with mobile phone cameras crowd the seals for photographs. Most disturbances are caused by walking too close to the seals and making noise. Sadly, we also see some visitors who try to provoke the seals. These wildlife disturbances are in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  And it is harmful to the seals, as having to respond to human interference takes precious energy that the seals need to survive while fasting on the beach for as long as four months.

We have a particularly difficult challenge this year. 

The Friends of the Elephant Seal is continuing our commitment to the welfare of these seals in Winter 2021, in collaboration with our State Park colleagues.  However, because of COVID-19 precautions, our volunteers are not permitted to greet visitors and educate them about elephant seals. We will be depending on other means to educate the public.
Our new “contact-less” efforts will require a special approach this winter, using more signage, social media and print materials to promote public safety, prevent disturbances to the seals and to keep the dogs safe too!  Your donation will help to offset some of our costs and help every visitor to honor and protect the seals that seek refuge and recovery on this public beach.


ANSWER to the seal count, there are 6 seals on the beach!  You can see how easy it is to miss them!

Hope that we can count your support for the bachelor seals at William R. Hearst State Beach!  

If you would prefer to MAIL a donation, DOWNLOAD OUR MAIL-IN DONATION FORM HERE.

Friends of the Elephant Seal is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation, dedicated to educating people about elephant seals and other marine life and teaching stewardship for the ocean off the central coast of California

All donations are gratefully received and carefully used.
Our federal tax ID number is 77-0481003

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