"Cowardly" Sea Lions Scared Away By Air Dancers

Inflatable devices effective in deterring sea lions from coming ashore

By KSBW
|  Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013  |  Updated 3:39 PM EDT
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A Calif. harbor installed Airdancers at docks that have effectively deterred sea lions from coming ashore.

NBCNC

A Calif. harbor installed Airdancers at docks that have effectively deterred sea lions from coming ashore.

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The Moss Landing Harbor found a creative way to keep California sea lions away from its docks.

Harbormaster Linda McIntyre purchased nine Airdancers, large inflatable devices that have fans that move a tube in a dancing or flailing motion, and placed them throughout the 610-ship harbor.

McIntyre said that hundreds of sea lions used to climb onto the docks (or "fingers") and ultimately sink them under their massive weight, causing thousands of dollars in damage.

"The fact is other deterrents we've used, and we've used many, were not effective," McIntyre told NBC affiliate KSBW, who bought the Airdancers three weeks ago. "At most, they were effective for like few days or a week. But these Airdancers have been the most effective for the longest period of time."

"There's a huge difference. The noise level is amazingly reduced," said Amber Knudson, who has two boats docked at Moss Landing Harbor. "And it doesn't inhibit the sea lion's natural behavior. I think it's a wonderful solution."

In the past, McIntyre has used motion sensor water spigots and Airsoft guns to try and ward off the barking sea lions.

She even had people who would walk up and down the docks trying to "shoo" away the animals. But some of the shooers ended up being chased by massive sea lions, who can move faster than humans can run.

Yet McIntyre never thought the Airdancers would act as a shoreline "scarecrow" and deter sea lions as effectively as they have.

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