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Influx of elephant seals restricts Point Reyes beach access

May 23, 2019
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FILE- In this Feb. 1, 2019, file photo, elephant seals and their pups occupy the Drakes Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore, Calif. An unexpected influx of elephant seals has restricted access to the beach at Point Reyes National Seashore northwest of San Francisco. The National Park Service closed entry to the Drakes Beach area this week after storms and high tides brought 200 elephant seals ashore, making it unsafe to walk from the parking lot to the beach. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE, Calif. (AP) — An unexpected influx of elephant seals has restricted access to a beach at Point Reyes National Seashore northwest of San Francisco.

The National Park Service closed entry to the Drakes Beach area this week after storms and high tides brought 200 elephant seals ashore, making it unsafe to walk from the parking lot to the beach.

The only exception to the closure is between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekends and federal holidays when park staffers are present.

Massive elephant seals spend most of their time at sea.

Males range from 14 to 16 feet (4.3 to 4.9 meters) long and weigh up to 5,000 pounds (2,268 kilograms). Females average 10 to 12 feet (3 to 3.6 meters) in length and weigh up to 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms).

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