West Seattle wildlife: Luna Park seal sighting


While we work on a couple more news stories for tonight, how about a photo break? Mark Wangerin – who you know primarily for his amazing bird photos, often shared with us so we can show them to you – sent these images, explaining: “I was down at Luna Park trying to shoot Osprey diving, when this little pup attempted to haul out and get warm. After a few tries, it was successful. It rested and yawned, but its rest was soon disturbed by a ferry wave. It gave up on this spot and went to the sandier side of the pier. I had to remind a few not to disturb. That they need to haul out to warm themselves.”


We asked Mark if he had notified Seal Sitters (which handle, as we were reminded during Sunday’s Fauntleroy humpback stranding, ALL marine mammals in the area); he said he didn’t have a phone with him, and said the seal was soon out of sight. By the way, checking Seal Sitters’ Blubberblog, we see they’re having a volunteer-training session on August 27th – go here to RSVP if you’re interested.

12 Replies to "West Seattle wildlife: Luna Park seal sighting"

  • kate August 9, 2016 (9:54 pm)

    Last week there was a post about a deceased seal that had puncture marks in its neck. I live on Vashon and we have had recent cougar sightings on the island this month and last. My Vashon neighbor’s dog was attacked with puncture wounds on its neck.  Apparently, cougars have swum over from the peninsula. Is it possible that the seal from last week’s news could have been taken out by a cougar? Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t there a cougar sighting in Mee-Kwa-Mooks a few months ago? Or was that a bear sighting? Have cougars ever been seen in West Seattle?

    • Coldheart Craig August 9, 2016 (10:35 pm)

      I grew up near Cougar, WA and can safely say they do not come close enough to suburban or urban areas for it to have been likely for one to have been in West Seattle anytime in the recent past. They require a large (square miles) of hunting grounds to support a single adult, and the greenbelts in West Seattle just don’t meet the needs. Anything’s possible, but this explanation doesn’t satisfy occam’s razor.

  • Joe Dirt August 9, 2016 (10:45 pm)

    Seems like a cougar would have done more damage than a puncture wound. As in, the cougar would have killed the seal for a meal. 

  • Marianne August 10, 2016 (7:18 am)

    The report on the seal that had puncture wounds and died last week, stated that the puncture wounds were consistent with a dog attack. Thank you Mark for reminding people to stay back from resting seals.

  • Nec Timor, Nec Temeritus August 10, 2016 (7:23 am)

    re: coldheart. cougars are sighted in large metro areas all the time. Denver, Portland & Los Angeles just to name a few. most people (even the ones that live in rural areas) rarely see one and I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen 7 in my life (the most recent just last late archery season from 10 feet) and have shot 1. they are but a few wild animals that are “out of sight/out of mind” in cities.

  • David Hutchinson August 10, 2016 (8:10 am)

    Seal Sitters would like to thank the WSB for reporting this and Mark for cautioning people about getting too close. Last Friday, we had a report of a pup at this location that was being poked by someone until it finally went back into the water. As Mark mentioned, they are on the beach to rest and warm up and need to be left alone. We are now in the middle of harbor seal “pupping season” in south Puget Sound. In the next few months, there will most likely be more instances of pups hauling out on our West Seattle beaches. They are protected from harassment and harm by federal law, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and we ask that you allow them to get the time onshore they need to increase their chances for survival.

    The message we try to get across to everyone is simple:

    1. Stay back.

    2. Keep people and pets away.

    3. Call your local stranding network. In West Seattle that is Seal Sitters at 206-905-SEAL (7325).

    • newnative August 10, 2016 (9:51 am)

      why would anyone poke a wild animal, especially a protected one that has signs explaining exactly how to behave around it?!  


  • Duwamesque August 10, 2016 (8:28 am)

    I’m willing to believe a mountain lion would occasionally come into heavily wooded suburban neighborhoods but “large metro areas”? Huh? L.A.? Are you for serious? There are precisely three trees in all of Los Angeles and the only cougars you find there are wearing stiletto heals looking for younger prey in WeHo.

    The more important question is though: do we really conisder West Seattle to be “the suburbs”???

  • Community Member August 10, 2016 (8:31 am)

    Beautiful seal!

    As far as last week’s death of a seal, “consistent with” a dog bite reminds us all that resting seals are vulnerable, and the city should enforce the off-leash dog laws, especially on our beaches.

    But was it “proven” to be a dog bite? I don’t think so. It sounded to me like the veterinarian was familiar with dog and coyote bites, and made a reasonable determination based on that.  

    I wondered whether seals ever fight and bite each other.

  • Lagartija Nick August 10, 2016 (8:57 am)

    Just saw a segment on 60 Minutes about cougars in L.A. Apparently there are 43 tagged individuals living in and around the Griffith Park area. So yes, they are very capable of living around urban areas.

  • anonyme August 10, 2016 (3:18 pm)

    I find it puzzling and frustrating that so many would apparently prefer to indulge any and all wild fantasies about the possible species of the predator responsible for the mauling death of the baby seal.  It is EXTREMELY unlikely that the pup was mauled by a cougar, a sea otter, a coyote, or any other wild scapegoat.  It was killed by an off-leash dog.  This was not the first dog mauling of a federally protected animal on the beaches of Lincoln Park(I’ve personally witnessed at least one other).  Given the scofflaw attitudes of dog owners, combined with the utter lack of enforcement, it unfortunately will not be the last.

    • Matt S. August 10, 2016 (10:04 pm)

      “…or any other wild scapegoat.”

      Well done, sir or madam. :)

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