Surely we can find a way to co-exist with sea lions

ould a sea lion friendly refuge be built, perhaps closer to the Nature Centre in Hecate Park?

Surely we can find a way to co-exist with sea lions

It is a pleasure visiting the sea lions as they haul-out every year in Cowichan Bay.

Judging from the steady stream of people on the wharf, others feel the same joy.

On Friday, there was a gentleman patrolling on foot. On Sunday he was standing in a small boat, paddling directly towards a Stellar in the water. He was clearing the dock of sea lions, causing them to jump back into the Bay. Intrigued by the man’s determination and perseverance, a question arose: Why? It appeared he was protecting a larger boat tied there.

It was disconcerting to see wildlife being harassed, prevented from taking rest. Sea lions do require time outside the water to regulate their body temperature too. I am aware being large and cumbersome, they could damage a vessel. A boat owner should not feel harassed by sea lions either. Both should be able to co-exist like the Stellar and California sea lions do now.

In this spirit, I am wondering, could another location be found nearby where this man might moor his boat? Could a sea lion friendly refuge be built, perhaps closer to the Nature Centre in Hecate Park?

Through discussion I have heard three separate witness accounts, all similar. These people have watched, from shore, as boat operators deliberately power through a group (raft) of sea lions. Again: Why? No answer could possibly justify this behaviour or elicit compassion for boat owners.

I for one, respect the contribution marine mammals bring to life on this planet and specifically to the Cowichan Valley. I know I would miss them if they are forced out of the area due to parking and barking concerns. I am not OK with them being displaced from the wharf physically by a dedicated sea lion security guard. Most certainly, I am not OK with the abhorrent behaviour of people causing them injury with motor blades.

Surely there is a better solution for all involved. We really should seek to find one. If we can’t adapt to sea lions in our midst for a couple of months, then we humans are in big trouble as a species.

Cheryl Trudell

Duncan

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