On Thursday, Jan. 6, just before sunset, a man chose to ride a small, rental electric bike across Jelly Bowl beach. He sped across the cove with a posted “Beach Closed” sign straight at a volunteer holding a stop sign who told him he was breaking the law. He rode into the seal sanctuary, circled and came back again aiming at the volunteer, who was now on the phone with Sheriff’s Dispatch. Volunteers at the overlook were horrified but powerless as seals fled into the sea.

At the break of dawn the next morning, the firstborn pup in the harbor seal sanctuary was found dead. I’m hoping that any woman could identify with the mother seal who carried and nourished her developing pup for a full year. That seal experienced sheer terror from an intruder at her bedside: terror that brought on premature labor and the unfulfillment of her maternal plans to nourish a healthy offspring. Seals bear but one pup a year.

Our harbor seal colony is dwindling. It is one of the last colonies remaining in Southern California, and we are doing nothing to alter that course. Even the city-planned Harbor Seal Advisory Committee has not started yet.

There are many living here who wonder: what are this city’s priorities? Preserving our quaint beach town is the highest priority according to city leaders. The seals are the symbol of our beautiful shoreline existence, and there are laws to protect these animals.

It puzzles me. What forces prevent respect for this beloved icon? All it can be is ignorance of their peaceful tranquility. If you love the seals, please speak up, or show up to help.