If you’ve ever made your way to La Jolla, California, then you know there’s nothing quite like watching the sea lions. They bark, they cry, they wrestle, and sometimes they chase. But on a recent crowded summer day, two sea lions took things a bit further and charged into a busy crowd of beach-goers. Charlianne Yeyn (@favortown on TikTok) went viral when she captured a video of the sea lions in the heat of a chase.
@favortown These sea lions made my day yesterday #california ♬ Apple bitten jeans beach boys 1964 – done4dayz
Yeyn told NBC7 that the chase started after a woman disrupted the sleep of one of the animals by trying to take a picture from only four feet away. The video has garnered almost 11 million views in just two days. Many people in the comments are pleased, saying tourists get too close to the wild animals.
“Tourists can get way too comfy around the wildlife at the cove so this video makes me happy,” user aves said.
“They really said locals only,” said greenbean97, another user.
Even We Care Animal Rescue, a free-roam cat sanctuary located in Napa Valley, California, weighed in on the conversation, commenting “#teamsealion.”
Experts told NBC7 that, while many people have been cheering on what looks like the animals chasing away tourists on the beach, the behavior actually looks like a mating ritual common during pupping season. Specifically, it was one juvenile male chasing off another to establish dominance and territory.
Still, sea lions are wild animals and can be dangerous if disturbed. The males can grow to be up to 1,000 pounds and are also highly territorial.
The La Jolla sea lions are a wonder that is always great to enjoy — just remember that we are sharing their habitat too.