Sea lion encounters in Aquatic Park, San Francisco
This seems to be becoming a "thing," unfortunately:
But there's also a lot of potentially misleading information going around, so let's talk.
Here's what (I think) we know:
- December 14 - C. Einfeldt (male) was bitten on the arm while swimming near the outside/west end of the Hyde St breakwater - video
- December 15 - R. Mulvihill (male) was bitten in the groin area while swimming near the "jacuzzi" - article
- January 11 - I. Chan (female) was bitten near the knee while swimming near the "jacuzzi"
There was an additional "reported" pinniped encounter in mid-December, but which did not result in a bite, was reported by a non-local, and I'm skeptical that it was any different than what regular SF bay swimmers experience on a typical day, i.e., seeing a pinniped during a swim.
All three confirmed bites were non-life-threatening but nonetheless resulted in an ambulance call and hospitalization.
We do not know if the same sea lion was responsible for all three injurious encounters, or if different animals were involved each time.
The SERC then-president-elect reported "on good authority" that the supposed sea lion supposedly responsible for the Dec 14/15 encounters was "dead," however the SF Marine Mammal center has stated they are not aware of any such death... and without tagging it would be tough to confirm which animal did what, anyway.
Pinniped bites in Aquatic Park are not unheard of: since I've been around, maybe one a year on average?
All three confirmed encounters occurred in close vicinity to an Aquatic Park landmark known colloquially as "The Jacuzzi" - see map:
Several hundred swimmers immerse in Aquatic Park every day. Even in these disturbing times, the probability of injury is extremely low.