But seriously, folks ... my "Nibbles for Mayor" merchandise is a joke, but the real deal (I mean, the real seal) is NOT. He's dangerous. Residents & visitors need to stay AWAY from his territory by the mouth of the Russian River in Jenner. For more information, see Paul Mc Hugh's recent articles in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Rogue elephant seal goes on rampage" & "Aggressive elephant seal menaces Sonoma beaches" (dated 4.23.2007 & 4.24.2007 respectively).
I can't BELIEVE the stupid stuff I see people do at the river's mouth & on the beach. Like allowing their children to play tag with the waves, kayaking into the harbor seal nursery, etc. What is it about sleeper waves, delicate natural habitats, & huge carnivorous marine animals do people NOT understand? Though I do have respect for those crazy surfers who know all about elephant seals & sharks & go surfing anyway (I assume they stay away from the harbor seal nursery).
We need to provide more education to our tourists. After all, our body of tourist literature does not describe the Sonoma coast as "wild" & "rugged" for nothing! I do not think visitors from places that face the Atlantic ocean -- or no ocean at all -- understand that this part of the Pacific ocean does NOT have a 400-mile continental shelf & that the water gets deep only a few feet out. Here in Northern California, the ocean is gorgeous to look at, but needs to be enjoyed from a safe distance. Inexperienced folks who want to wade, boat & swim can safely enjoy these activities at Doran Beach in Bodega Bay, on Johnson's Beach in Guerneville, or on Monte Rio Beach in Monte Rio.
As for Nibbles, I'm sad to say that he either (a) needs to be relocated to a place where he can successfully compete for a mate; or (b) needs to be "put down." Even if you're a confirmed wildlife advocate &/or misanthrope, it seems hard to disagree with this. The fact is that Nibbles the elephant seal doesn't belong in this habitat & is attacking many of those who do -- including the pregnant mothers of those adorable baby harbor seals with the big brown eyes who are so frequently portrayed in advertisements & brochures by animal rights & environmentalist organizations.
I feel sorry for Nibbles. He has been observed attempting to mate with the female harbor seals & attacking when they flee from him in terror (can't say I blame 'em, with that huge schnozz of his). He'd have better luck in Alaska, where all the other elephant seals are.
Until the Powers-That-Be figure out what to do about this situation (hopefully, they can come up with a humane solution), STAY OUT OF NIBBLES' territory until mid-summer when he supposedly migrates elsewhere.