On the shore at Lincoln Park Monday, lessons in life and death. First – a California sea lion was discovered dead on the shore. Above, RyAnn shared the photo above, which she described as “three little explorers, the seal, and a gentle man who works at the aquarium.”
Cathy also sent us a report about the dead sea lion, which she said was being checked out by a Seattle Police officer while she was there. But she also spotted a baby seal on the beach: “Seal Sitters were there watching over him and I had a wonderful time chatting with the husband and wife team that was ‘on duty’.” Here’s her photo:
That may not have been the only seal pup on shore Monday, according to an update on the Seal Sitters‘ “blubberblog” site, which mentions a pup visiting Lincoln Park twice, and another (or MAYBE the same) pup visiting a “private beach” elsewhere in West Seattle.
ADDED 12:41 PM: From Robin Lindsey of Seal Sitters:
Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network (SSMMSN) discovered the California sea lion yesterday, took photos and submitted them to our consulting WDFW marine mammal biologist. The animal will be necropsied by a WDFW Marine Mammal Investigations Unit team tomorrow with assistance of SSMMSN volunteers. In the meantime, people need to stay back from the carcass – marine mammals (dead and alive) can transmit diseases to both humans and dogs. Please respect the biodegradable tape perimeter that will be re-established today.
The sea lion will be secured with a rope to the logs on the beach so that the body is not washed away by high tide before tomorrow’s necropsy.
ADDED 4:08 PM: We asked Robin about suspicion the sea lion might have been shot, given the appearance of a couple photos we received (too graphic to publish). Her reply:
> Rumors about the animal being shot are strictly that – rumors. Often what people assume are bullet holes are nothing of the kind. In reality, according to our consulting expert biologist, bullet wounds are usually quite small and difficult to identify on a large, decomposing animal. And locating a bullet that is embedded in hundreds of pounds of muscle and tissue is a difficult endeavor. The wound that folks are speculating about may just be where the animal has been scavenged by birds, pecking through the flesh. However, this is not to say, it is absolutely not an entry wound that has been enlarged by scavenging. This is the reason the stranding network performs necropsies whenever possible – to try to determine the cause of death and keep an eye on the health of our marine mammal populations.
It is indeed a sad fact that too many sea lions and seals are shot each year, unjustly blamed for dwindling fish stocks – when they are just trying to survive in the wild with less and less resources to support them.
We will keep everyone updated as to the necropsy findings tomorrow.
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