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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Can People and Pinnipeds Share the Same Space? An Exploration Into the Role of Signage at Pinniped Viewing Sites and a Proposal for the Future of Harbor Seals at Children's Pool Beach, La Jolla, CA

  • Author(s): VanderWalde, Rachael
  • et al.

Throughout the heavily populated coastline of southern and central California, the management of pinnipeds often leads to social disputes arising over the use of space and natural resources. The decade long dispute over the use of Children’s Pool Beach in downtown La Jolla presents a case in point. Educational signage has often been touted by wildlife managers, as an effective means of bridging conflicts of interest, yet there has been little to no evaluation of the efficacy of signage at pinniped viewing sites within California. The purpose of this Capstone Project was to ascertain the current use of signage at Children’s Pool Beach, La Jolla, and compare it with the current usage of interpretive signage at another urban pinniped haul out site, Pier 39, located in downtown San Francisco. Based on this comparison it was determined that most visitors prefer to focus their time and attention upon signs which utilize handouts and at least two visual images, as well as signs that are not within direct view of the animals and are presented along a recognized viewing pathway. Visitors were more inclined to stop and read signage presented in an entertaining format at Pier 39, as opposed to the mainly regulatory signs broadcasted throughout Children’s Pool Beach. In conclusion, it is believed that an artistically rendered educational display should be erected at Children’s Pool as a means of minimizing social disputes.

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