A spate of a sea lion attacks have prompted authorities to close part of San Francisco Bay to swimmers.
The Telegraph reports that three swimmers were attacked by sea lions in the space of a week around the same area in San Francisco Bay. The attacks prompted officials to close the Aquatic Park Cove, a popular spot for swimming near Fisherman’s Wharf.
Aquatic Park Cove is part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, which is run by the National Park Service.
“For public safety, the Aquatic Park Cove has been closed to swimming until Wednesday, December 20. Swimmers have received marine mammal bites in the last several days,” explained the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, in a statement on its website.
The attacks prompted the closure of Aquatic Park Cove to swimmers on Dec. 15. The Cove was initially scheduled to re-open on Monday Dec. 18. However, on Monday, officials announced that the site would be closed to swimmers until Wednesday.
On Thursday Dec. 14, San Francisco Fire Department reported that a swimmer was bitten on the arm by a sea lion in the waters off Aquatic Park Cove.
The San Francisco Police Department’s Marine Unit applied a tourniquet to the man’s arm before he was taken to hospital, according to the Sacramento Bee.
A second swimmer was reportedly bitten in the groin by a sea lion on Friday morning.
The Telegraph reports that a third swimmer was bitten earlier in the week but sustained only minor injuries and did not require medical treatment.
At this stage, it’s unclear what is causing the attacks. Fox News has reached out to the National Park Service for comment on this story.
In a 2015 case study, experts explained that biting incidents involving sea lion and seals, although not unheard of, are rare in the waters of San Francisco Bay.
“Reports of bites and contact abrasions from sea lions and harbor seals are relatively rare in open-water swimmers and typically involve the lower extremities,” explained the authors. “The majority of cases in our series occurred at low tide, and bumping of the swimmer by the animal before or after a bite was common, but no clear tide or attack pattern was identified.”
However, in 2006, a rogue sea lion menaced swimmers in San Francisco Bay, biting at least 14 people, according to the San Francisco’s Chronicle’s SFGATE website.
Earlier this year, a young girl was dragged into the water by a sea lion in Vancouver. She survived the dramatic attack, which was captured on video.
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