Newport Beach using fake coyotes to help deter sea lions

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The city of Newport Beach is using a new creative method to deter sea lions from resting or jumping on boats in the harbor. The city has placed menacing-looking plastic coyotes all around the area.

"We are moving them around on a regular basis, around the harbor, where there are known problem areas, notifying the dock or boat owners," said Mary Locey, a spokesperson for the city.

Those known problem areas are popular places for sea lions to hang out, mostly near the entrance to the harbor.

The city purchased eight of the $25 plastic coyotes in hopes of warding off sea lions, especially a colony of them laying on a boat.

Locey says the sea lions can cause damage to boats and become a nuisance with their barking. "We don't recommend anybody get near a sea lion or try to befriend them or feed them. That's against the municipal code as well, but you do have to be careful in what actions you take," said Locey.

The city says boat owners have gotten creative to steer the animals away, and to follow the municipal code which requires them to deter sea lions from resting on boats or docks. "Plastic chairs, and lining them so they're filling the space on docks putting potted plants around the edges of the dock area," Locey said.

The idea for the pack of coyote decoys came from the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, where there's been success keeping the sea lions away with this method.

The city hopes the sea lions don't catch on and that people don't get caught off guard. "It might make people glance a couple of times but they are plastic and they will not hurt you," said Locey.
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