Wildlife in Pacific Grove
Pacific Grove is home to many remarkable wildlife species— such as overwintering monarch butterflies, nesting black oystercatchers, and resident harbor seals, blacktail deer, and southern sea otters. These species rely on a healthy ecosystem to find adequate food, successfully breed and raise young, and rest. To ensure that wildlife thrives, the City of Pacific Grove partners with local organizations, community wildlife advocates, scientists, and YOU to reduce impacts by raising public awareness and developing policy.
Pacific Grove was once part of an extensive coastal fog forest. Today, this unique coastal forest ecosystem is rich in flora and fauna, and remains as one of the few native Monterey pine forests in the world. The waters surrounding Pacific Grove are part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the California State Marine Protected Areas. These ocean sanctuaries help to conserve and restore marine ecosystems, lending themselves to some of the best marine wildlife viewing in the world!
When visiting Pacific Grove, there are actions you can take to protect wildlife, and many opportunities to learn more about the wildlife that call this place home.
Do you See Injured Wildlife?Please call this number immediately to get professional assistance (831) 264-5427, SPCA Monterey County. For injured or orphaned marine mammals call The Marine Mammal Center (415) 289-SEAL. For injured or deceased sea otters, call Monterey Bay Aquarium (831) 648-4840.
10 things you can do to protect wildlife when visiting pacific grove
Wildlife is protected by local, state, and federal laws. Following laws and regulations are key to keeping wildlife populations healthy and thriving.
- Give animals space. Be aware of animals noticing you and move away at the first sign of disturbance. Disturbing animals can result in precious energy loss that can cumulatively affect survival and reproduction. In severe cases of disturbance, nests and juveniles can be abandoned by stressed adults. Signs of disturbance can include staring, fidgeting, lifting head, or fleeing. The recommended distance for viewing harbor seals, sea lions, and sea otters is 100 yards. Harassment, a form of disturbance, involves intentionally disrupting an animal's normal behavior patterns (such as migration, breeding, feeding or sheltering) to active pursuit, torment, or annoyance of individuals and/or populations (§251.1. Harassment of Animals, Marine Mammal Protection Act). Wildlife harassment is prohibited by law and violations will result in significant fines.
- Give extra space to mothers and pups. Pacific Grove is home to a resident population of harbor seals. These seals are nocturnal— sleeping along the coast by day and actively foraging at night. When you see them along the shore, they need their rest! Harbor seals can be viewed year-round at locations along the coast. In early spring, females will cluster on rookery beaches to birth and nurse their pups. Peak pupping season occurs in April. Harbor seals are very sensitive to disturbance, especially noise. Please view them quietly and at a distance. Learn more about harbor seals. The City of Pacific Grove protects harbor seals, especially during pupping season (PG MC 14.04.040) and violations result in significant fines.
- Keep wildlife healthy- don’t feed! Wildlife requires specialized diets, and providing unnatural foods can result in malnourishment and illness. Interactions with wildlife can result in injury and/or disease transmission. Feeding also tames wild species, and interferes with natural behaviors such as foraging,hunting, and scavenging. It is against the law to feed wildlife in the City of Pacific Grove. Feeding Wildlife is Prohibited by Law, the minimum fine is $100.00. (PG MC 10.10.010).
- Be deer aware. Blacktail deer fawn season is in springtime, March-August when you’ll see the small baby deer following their mother across roads, often lagging behind. Watch the direction from which the mother deer came, wait and look to see if there are young ones to cross after her and catch up. Report any collisions with deer or other. If you experience an animal collision, it is to be reported to the Pacific Grove Police (831) 648-3143 (PG MC 16.32.160).
- Keep pets away and on leash. As natural predators, our domestic dogs and cats can harass, disturb, and kill wildlife, and in some cases transmit diseases. Dogs are prohibited on all Pacific Grove beaches (with the exception of Asilomar State Beach, where they must be leashed). Within the city, dogs must be leashed (PG MC 10.04.020), with some exceptions (PG MC 14.08.030).
- Keep your drones at home. Drones are seen as threats, and create alarm responses in wildlife. The disturbance can affect their ability to feed, survive, and reproduce.Launching, flying and landing of drones is prohibited (PG MC 11.72.010) and violations will result in significant fines.
- Take only pictures. No collecting or harvesting of marine life- animals, plants, shells, or rocks- is allowed without a permit (PG MC 14.04.020). The coastline is protected as part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) and California Marine Protected Area (MPA) network, and these areas have specific regulations related to wildlife protection. See MBNMS restrictions and MPA restrictions for more information, including fishing permits.
- See a wildlife violation? Report violations of any of the above items to Pacific Grove Police Department (831) 648-3143. For marine mammal disturbances, call NOAA enforcement Hotline (800) 853-1964 or CALTIP- 1-888-334-CALTIP. Violations include feeding, disturbing, harassing, or removing animals.
- Save these numbers. To report injured or abandoned wildlife call this number immediately to get assistance (831) 264-5427 for the SPCA Monterey County. For injured or orphaned marine mammals call The Marine Mammal Center (415) 289-SEAL. For injured or deceased sea otters, call Monterey Bay Aquarium (831) 648-4840
- Join a local wildlife event or volunteer organization! See list below.
Learn More about wildlife and their habitats in pacific grove
- Share the Shore: Watch Marine Mammals Responsibly
- Living with Wildlife, California Department of Fish & Wildlife
- Marine Mammals of Monterey Bay, Monterey National Marine Sanctuary
- Explore animals’ ocean homes, Monterey Bay Aquarium
- Harbor seals, Pacific Grove Natural History Museum, Monterey Bay Aquarium
- Southern Sea Otters, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Sea Otter Savvy
- Native Blacktail Deer, PG Deer Awareness Group
- Monarch Butterflies, Pacific Grove Natural History Museum, Monarch Sanctuary
- Black Oystercatchers, Monterey Audubon Society shorebird program
- Bird viewing opportunities and events, Monterey Audubon Society
- Shoreline Walking Tour