West Seattle wildlife: Pup death checked out by Seal Sitters

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!

4 Replies to "West Seattle wildlife: Pup death checked out by Seal Sitters"

  • sgs August 31, 2012 (8:09 am)

    Is it feasible at all for Seal Sitters to expand their territory? I was on Vashon at Pt. Robinson and made myself very unpopular with some people who were getting within 5 feet of the baby seal to take pictures and then were batting rocks into the water with driftwood very close to him too. I was told by the Seal Sitters operator that they work only in West Seattle. We appreciate what you do and, however not speaking as a Vashon resident, think there could be a good group of volunteers from Vashon to expand the work.

  • Robin August 31, 2012 (3:02 pm)

    Last year, Seal Sitters did respond all the way to Marysville (north of Everett), merging with another network that served north King and Snohomish Counties. However, due to staffing constraints with no funding from NOAA or the State and because had a very busy season in West Seattle, we felt it more prudent to respond only to WS this year. Wolftown is the stranding network for Vashon and I am sure they would love to expand their volunteer base! Here is the contact info: 206-463-9113.

  • Robin August 31, 2012 (3:44 pm)

    I forgot to say a big thanks to “sgs” for trying to protect that poor Vashon pup. It sounds like you would be a perfect fit for the stranding network over there – seal pups can use all the protection they can get!

  • M Flash August 31, 2012 (9:15 pm)

    Thursday my dog Gwen sniffed out this seal’s body as it was washed ashore. I’ve only seen live seals now we had to call Seal Sitters with some bad news. We called the number posted on the signage along the Lincoln Park shore and waited. In 30mins Robin appeared with the proper knowledge to deal with this lifeless body. Thank you Robin for your work with these seal pups! Let this be the last one Gwen sniffs out.

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