West Coast
Elephant seals lounging on Drakes Beach. Image: Point Reyes National Seashore/John Dell’Osso

Elephant Seals Took Over a Beach During the Shutdown and They’re Not Giving it Back

During the government shutdown, while nobody was looking, a herd of elephant seals took over a popular California beach and forced authorities to close the area to visitors.

The opportunistic animals are iconic residents of Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County near San Francisco, where they can usually be seen lounging on the sand from afar.

But with National Park Service employees furloughed, and no one around to wrangle them, 50 to 60 seals moved into Drakes Beach, known by locals for its expansive shoreline and pristine views.

Had the shutdown not occurred, “we probably would have tried to move the seals further away from the parking area,” John Dell’Osso, chief of interpretation and resource education at Point Reyes National Seashore, told Motherboard in an email.

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