Seal-pup season isn’t all cheery news of pup sightings – Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network has to handle the sad calls too. Like the one Robin Lindsey reports tonight:
I just wanted to give your readers a heads up that Seal Sitters MMSN responded to a report of a dead pup at Lincoln Park late this afternoon. The pup was decomposed to the point that we could not get an i.d. and was not a candidate for necropsy to determine cause of death. The pup was definitely thin, however. We marked the pup with two fluorescent magenta dots of paint and are hoping that the pup disappears with the tide tonight, providing nourishment for other sea critters. If the pup comes back ashore, we are asking folks to please call the hotline @ 206-905-7325 (SEAL) and we will have Parks bury him. The marine mammal stranding networks mark dead animals with either a green grease marker or fluorescent spray in order to keep track of mortality statistics and not be counting the same animal twice.
Since harbor seal pups have only a 50% chance of survival their first year, Seal Sitters does indeed respond to quite a few dead pups each year; it is definitely the sad side of the work we do. On the flip side, it is exhilarating to watch over a stretching/yawning/snoozing pup on the beach, knowing we are all giving that pup the very best chance to thrive. Here’s to lots of fat and happy pups this season!