By Lauren Fruen
FAKE coyotes are being used to keep pesky sea lions at bay after they were responsible for sinking a boat while sunbathing.
The animals are also annoying locals in Los Angeles with their “rowdy parties” when they start territorial fights.
To combat the problem authorities in Newport Harbor ordered eight decoy coyotes to stop the sea lions from causing any more hassle.
Incredible images of the coyotes – which are all named after Looney Tunes characters – shows them sitting in the harbour acting as a deterrent.
Officials say the sea lions fur also causes problems due to its “natural oily residue”.
A government spokesman for the city said: “The sea lions in Newport Harbor has been an ongoing issue for many years.
“Swimming in the harbor is not the problem. The problem is when they haul out to sun themselves on any available open surface.
“The sheer weight of the sea lions causes property damage to docks and vessels, one small craft sank.
“Additionally, the sea lion’s fur has a natural oily residue which is nearly impossible to remove from a vessel’s fiberglass.
“But, what keeps our phones ringing are the late night rowdy ‘parties’ when the sea lions start a territorial fight.
“The City has a Municipal Code which requires all docks, vessels, moorings to install and maintain appropriate measures to deter sea lions.
“Recently, the City’s Harbor Master, Dennis Durgan, was meeting with a local yacht club and noticed the plastic decoy coyotes in the club’s mooring field.
“He was surprised to learn that the decoys were working to deter the sea lions from hauling out on the vessels.
“He decided to order eight for the City. The decoys cost about $25 each, making it a reasonable investment for a pilot program.
“The decoy coyotes are deployed when staff locates a dock or vessel that is not protected from the sea lions. They are a temporary fix.
“They are being constantly rotated around the harbor and are attached to a stand.
“They are all plastic except for a fake fur tail that actually blows in the wind, this helps make the coyote appear to be real.
“As of now, the coyotes are working. However, sea lions are very smart and they might eventually figure out the coyotes are fake.
“It has become necessary to be creative and try different deterrent methods to out smart them.”