By CYNTHIA McKELVEY
Santa Cruz Sentinel
CAPITOLA — A male elephant seal spent Wednesday morning resting on Hoober Beach just west of the Capitola wharf, according to Shelbi Stoudt, the stranding and data manager at the Marine Mammal Center.
“It will likely hang out in the area but it can still defend itself and people should not approach,” Stoudt said.
Stoudt explained that often marine mammals will come to the beach to rest.
There are currently no plans to move the animal from the beach. The Marine Mammal Center will work with National Marine Fisheries Law Enforcement to protect the animal.
It is a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act to harass and approach a marine mammal on a beach. Violators can be fined up to $25,000 or face jail time in extreme cases, according to Stoudt.
“We advise people to observe from a distance and not to approach the animal,” Stoudt said.
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