Sea lions are attacking swimmers in the Bay of San Francisco (San Francisco Fire), sea lion picture file (iStock/Lingbeek)
A wave of sea lion attacks have prompted authorities to close part of the San Francisco Bay for the swimmers.
The Telegraph reports that three swimmers were attacked by sea lions in the space of a week around the same area in the Bay of San Francisco. The attacks prompted officials to close the Aquatic Park Cove, a popular place to swim near Fisherman’s Wharf.
Aquatic Park Cove is part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, which is managed by the National Park Service.
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“For the safety of the public, the Aquatic Park Cove is closed to swimming until Wednesday, December 20. Swimmers have received marine mammal bites in the last few days,” explained the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, in a statement on its website.
The attacks prompted the closure of the Aquatic Park Cove for the swimmers on Dec. 15. The Bay 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.
The Aquatic Park Cove will remain closed to swimming because of the marine mammal bites until Wednesday, 20 December 2017. For some historical context of human-marine mammal interactions in the Bay of San Francisco, here is a case study published in 2015 https://t.co/AYvpBNAiU8
— SF Maritime NHP (@SFMaritimeNPS) on December 18, 2017
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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 the shore of Aquatic Park Cove.
At 1:48 PM #SFPD Marine 7 helped a swimmer apparently bitten on the arm by a sea lion in the waters off the shore of Aquatic Park. Officers, who put a tourniquet & @sffdpio medics transported the victim to a hospital. pic.twitter.com/ozaT69DhEL
— SFPDSgtMike (@SFPDSgtMike) December 14, 2017
Work by @SFPD that swift action and immediate use of a tourniquet to the control of the swimmer wounds. These actions, which together have contributed to these swimmers life saved (Originally it was reported that paramedics applied the tourniquet, it was confirmed to be @SFPD) https://t.co/qhib3n9gCk
— San Francisco Fire (@sffdpio) December 14, 2017
The San Francisco Police Department’s Marine Unit, which is a tourniquet to the man by the arm before he was transferred to the hospital, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Please share Aquatic Park Closure Info: @GoldenGateNPS @SFPD @SFPort @SF_emergency @LondonBreed pic.twitter.com/ajESF49F28
— San Francisco Fire (@sffdpio) December 15, 2017
A second swimmer was reportedly bitten in the groin by a sea lion on Friday morning.
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The Telegraph reports that a third swimmer was bitten earlier in the week, but only minor injuries are suffered and did not require medical treatment.
At this stage, it is unclear what the cause of the attacks. Fox News has reached out to the National Park Service for comments on this story.
In 2015 case study, experts explain that biting incidents with sea lions and seals, although it is not unheard of, are rare in the waters of the Bay of San Francisco.
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“Reports of bites and contact with abrasions of sea lions and harbor seals are relatively rare in the open water swimmers, and usually consist of the lower extremities,” according to the authors. “The majority of the cases in our series occurred at low tide, and the punches of the swimmer by the animal or after a bite, it was common, but no clear tide or the attack pattern is recognized.”
However, in 2006, a rogue sea lion threatened swimmers in the Bay of San Francisco, biting at least 14 people, according to the San Francisco 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 assault, which was captured on video.
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