Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


Science & Environmental Policy


Growing at a rate of 6% per year northern elephant seal rookeries are becoming crowded forcing them to find new beaches. Some of the beaches have been on the mainland providing curious and unaware humans easy access to these large mammals. Visitors to the mainland rookeries often put themselves and the seals in danger when they are not properly watched or educated on the speed or strength of this creature. Mainland rookeries have also created the possibility of introducing epizootic diseases from wild and domestic mammals into the elephant seal population. This paper discusses the pros and cons of elephant seals being on the mainland, and it introduces three possible ways to keep them from forming new mainland rookeries. The three ways discussed in this paper are sterilization, seal harvesting, and reintroducing natural predators to the coast of California. Controversies surrounding each of these are also discussed. This paper only provides the rational for my final products; the interactive map and web pages. The map illustrates all of the current California rookeries. Resources generated by this project have been placed on California State University Monterey Bay's "Elephant Seal Project" web site and on the state parks Pelican Network web page.


Capstone Project (B.S.) Earth Systems Science & Policy Institute

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