The partial government shutdown may be over for now, but the world is still feeling the effects. Namely, a Northern California beach that was taken over by elephant seals while federal employees -- including those that would be in charge of sending the massive marine mammals away -- were furloughed.
With no one on duty to stop them, close to 60 seals rushed through a fence at Drakes Beach on the Point Reyes National Seashore and settled in, according to a report from CNN. The shutdown ended on January 25, but the seal invasion wages on. Park workers returned to work to find the blubbery freeloaders squatting on the beach and took action, blocking beach access and urging locals to avoid the area for fear of making the seals anxious.
“I’ve not seen anything like this here with these numbers,” John Dell’Osso, a spokesperson for the National Park Service told a CNN affiliate. “An occasional rogue elephant seal, yes, but nothing like this.”
The problems don’t end with dozens of seals living on the beach. According to Dell’Osso, the adult seals are giving birth there. More than 30 pups have been born since the elephant seals moved in. Still, parks workers are determined to evict the seals and their children.
“Now we have some 35 to 40 pups that have been born on the beach and will be nursing from their mothers for the next couple of months,” Dell’Osso said. “I just want to caution the public to be patient with us, as we’re trying to work our way through this.”
There’s no telling when parks workers will be able to clear Drakes Beach of the elephant seals. So, uh, we might as well just accept our new seal overlords.