In a few weeks, male elephant seals are set to make a return to the Central Coast, and the group Friends of the Elephant Seal is looking for volunteers to ensure a safe season for the wild animals.
Volunteer guides at the William R. Hearst Memorial Beach in San Simeon help educate the public and keep people away from the elephant seals during their mating season when the seals can sometimes be aggressive and could potentially harm beachgoers.
"The seals don't recognize that people are on the beach and they will continue to fight with each other and sometimes people are in the way," explained Dr. Kathleen Curtis, President of the Board of Directors for Friends of the Elephant Seal. "The beach is very popular with dog walkers, fishermen, sports enthusiasts, just regular beach visitors, kids playing in the surf, and all of those situations pose safety issues for the humans that are on that beach."
The Friends of the Elephant Seal are looking to double their number of volunteers and add 15 more.
Guides would work two, four-hour shifts per month starting in late December through mid-March of next year.
Dr. Curtis says a good docent is friendly, outgoing, knowledgeable, interested in educating the public and helping people understand what they are seeing in front of them,
For an application to become a volunteer, visit elephantseal.org.