A SeaWorld San Diego expert said on Monday that a pair of sea lions that sent dozens of San Diego beachgoers running in fear last week were likely chasing each other, sparring over their rights to mate with females.
Eric Otjen of SeaWorld says the behavior caught on a TikTok video that went viral is normal this time of year as breeding season gets underway. He says the beachgoers, however, were still wise to flee. The mammals weigh between 200 and 300 pounds and could easily barrel over people if they got in their way.
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“He’s got swimmers all around him on his way back out, but they don’t bother him. What this is all about is his right to mate,” Otjen said, adding: “This behavior is not uncommon at all. The reason why the video has gotten like 10 millions views is because everybody is running like Godzilla is chasing them.”