Big Data: Welcome to seal beach, California

FILE - In this May 12, 2005, file photo, a herd of elephant seals lounge in a slumbering pile in a sandy cove on the Southeast Farallon Island at the Farallon Islands National Refuge, Calif. Environmental research projects on everything from endangered animals to air and water quality are being delayed and disrupted by the month-long partial federal government shutdown _ and not just those conducted by government agencies. Scientists with universities, nonprofit organizations and private companies say their inability to collaborate with federal partners, gain access to federal lands and laboratories, and secure federal funding is jeopardizing their work. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, file)
Eric Risberg/AP/file 2005
A herd of elephant seals.

50 to 60 — That’s the number of adult elephant seals who took over popular Drakes Beach on the Point Reyes National Seashore in California during the partial government shutdown, when there were no park rangers to shoo them away. The females have given birth to about 35 pups, and it’s unclear how the park service will handle the burgeoning colony in the long term. John Dell’Osso, chief of interpretation and resource education for the seashore, tells SFGate that, in the short term, staff may offer tourists guided tours.