Spring brings many signs of the season to Fort Bragg and the Mendocino coast, but none tickles our hearts more than the arrival of a new generation of baby Harbor seals and sea lions to the rocks of the California Coastal Monument offshore at MacKerricher State Park. Locals and visitors alike flock to the Haul Road trail north of Lake Cleone to view and photograph what have been called the “puppies of the sea.”
The adorable expressions on the faces of these young marine mammals entrances local photographer Jennifer Hendershott, who has shared these fabulous images on our Facebook page. Whether swimming with their mothers in the shallow waters surrounding the rocks, or sunning themselves in groups, the similarities with human children are unmistakable and enchanting.
The Marine Mammal Center‘s biologists warn visitors to observe and photograph from a distance. All of these photos were captured with a distance lens. As with any species, the mothers are extremely protective of the babies, and are capable of inflicting bites and other injuries on unsuspecting and well-meaning observers. If you come across a stranded or lone baby that appears to be in distress, contact the Park Rangers or call either the Marine Mammal Center’s hotline at 415-289-SEAL or NOAA’s hotline at 866-755-6622.