In the foreground, that’s “Sparkle” the seal pup, the first one spotted this season by Seal Sitters – and its appearance on an Alki-area platform these past few days unfortunately is cause for an urgent reminder instead of a happy announcement, because of boaters getting way too close. Seal Sitters’ Robin Lindsey estimates the pup to be just a few days old, which means if its mom is scared away, its life is at risk: “It is imperative that people STAY BACK from this platform (both in the water and on shore) to lessen the risk of abandonment and death for this pup, shown here with a larger yearling. There was a steady stream of boaters getting much closer than NOAA’s 100-yard recommendation, causing the adult seals to flee into the Sound.” Robin reiterates that “human interference truly is a matter of life and death for all seal pups their first year of life – and most certainly the first 4 weeks when they are nursing on mom’s rich milk, unable to forage on their own. We are documenting all violations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and sending photos to NOAA’s Office for Law Enforcement and WDFW Enforcement for investigations – neither of which takes harassment of wildlife lightly. Boaters need to stay back from rafts, docks and buoys with resting seals and sea lions. For boater guidelines, go here.” Robin shows and tells even more of the story on Blubberblog.
P.S. If you see a seal pup – or a marine mammal of any kind, alive or dead – ashore in the West Seattle area, please call Seal Sitters at 206-905-SEAL (206-905-7325). Elsewhere – find info here.