A group of nature lovers in California have set themselves up as volunteer watchdogs patrolling the California coast near Santa Barbara Island to defend seals against hunting by amateur fishermen and hunters, whom they call "murderous morons".
GV Santa Barbara coastline (3 shots)
GTV Seals in water
GTV Patrol boat approaching (3 shots)
LV & SV Park Service huts on land (3 shots)
MV & GV People patrolling along coat and looking out to sea (4 shots)
STV & MV Seals swimming (4 shots)
SCU Park Service official being interviewed
GV & CU Seals in water (3 shots)
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 7: "Any murderous moron in a rowboat can come out, and he can kill sealions and seals 24 hours a day, and 365 days a year, and there's absolutely nothing that anyone can do about it. That's what the law presently says - no limit as to number, and absolutely no limit as to the kind of weapon or device used. They can be bombed, stabbed, beaten, shot - doesn't make any difference, its all part of quote 'taken'. That's what the law's about right now."
With the careful watch being kept by both official and unofficial patrols - at least these California seals are not likely to fall into the hands of the hunters.
Initials LD/PN/OS/238 LD/PN/GS/303
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A group of nature lovers in California have set themselves up as volunteer watchdogs patrolling the California coast near Santa Barbara Island to defend seals against hunting by amateur fishermen and hunters, whom they call "murderous morons".
Each year, world-wide uproar grows as conservationists and animal protection societies carry their fight against the sealers to all possible grounds. Press campaigns, celebrities refusing to wear animal furs, official protests to government organizations, these are but a few of the moves taken by the seal-protectors.
In California, the volunteer patrols are supplementing work being carried out by members of the Ministry of Interior Park Services - who maintain lookout posts and rescue equipment on hand along the coast.
Seals, like the ones swimming contentedly under the vigilant eyes of the patrols, are killed annually for their valuable furs. In some areas, the killing is Government-controlled and humane - what these people are trying to prevent is the non-professional massacre which is all-too-often carried out by amateur hunters.
As one Parks official put it: