SANTA CRUZ — In an unusual display of nature, a sea lion gave birth to a pup on Main Beach on Friday, to the delight of Memorial Day weekend tourists and locals.
"It's really cool to have beautiful sea life born right here," said Kayla Cytron-Thaler, an Ideal Bar and Grill hostess. "It's just sad that it's in an area with such poor water quality."
Onlookers kept their distance. Several "oohs" and "ahhs" could be heard as children pointed at the pup.
Lynn Sarf and Richard Watkins, of Claremont, checked up on the pup periodically while they explored the Boardwalk and the wharf. The two visiting for Memorial Day weekend were out walking off their breakfast when they came across the pup.
"We couldn't believe the size of the baby," Richard Watkins said. Pups, born from May to July, can weigh up to 13 pounds and measure up to 2.5 feet long. The pup appeared to be doing well initially, Marine Mammal officials said, but as waves threatened to wash it out to sea and the mother grew inattentive, the National Marine Fisheries Service allowed it to be moved to the Moss Landing Marine Mammal Center.
"Ano Nuevo is really the only major rookery where we would see pups," said Jeff Boehm, the executive director of the Marine Mammal Center. "The Channel Islands would be the only other place."