Great white sharks? In Southern California. Nice way to start off the summer season. The National Park Service issued a shark warning for the Santa Barbara area on Wednesday following a great white shark sighting off East Beach. A shark might have also attacked a sea lion pup that ended up dead on the sands of Rincon, a popular Southern California surfing destination, according to the Ventura County Star.
Sharks have reportedly attacked at least three sea lions around the Channel Islands in the past weeks. Though there have not been any attacks on humans, the warning was issued because of potential risk.
Officials have kept children in the Junior Lifeguard program away from the water on Monday and Tuesday and are advising people to enter the water at their own risk.
Though great white sharks prefer deeper, colder waters, they come to the shallow areas of Southern California during the summer season to birth their young, according to experts. Their main sources of food are sea lions and elephant seals, which are abundant in the Channel Islands during this time of the year.
Unfortunately, a surfer in a black wetsuit can look a little like a sea lion or elephant seal to the sharks.
Experts are telling people not to worry. Since the 1920s, there have been 11 fatalities in the state from shark bites, according to California Department of Fish and Game.
“Any time there is a great white in the water, there is the potential danger, so we want people to be aware of it,” Channel Islands National park spokeswoman Yvonne Menard told the Ventura paper.