UPDATE: Dead sea lion finally removed from West Seattle beach

ORIGINAL REPORT, 12:58 PM: About a week and a half ago, Seal Sitters FYI’d us about another dead sea lion on a local beach, just in case anyone asked, saying they had notified Seattle Parks, since in this case, it’s their beach, so it’s their problem. It was in a fairly high-profile place – Seacrest, near the West Seattle Water Taxi dock. It’s still there, according to several people who asked us about it in the past few days, so today we inquired with Parks to see what their plan is.

So far, Parks spokesperson Christina Hirsch tells us, “We have been monitoring the situation and exploring possible options for removing the animal. The beach location is extremely difficult to access with trucks and heavy-lifting equipment because of the retaining wall. We currently don’t believe it is feasible to safely access the site to remove the animal — which we estimate weighs several hundred pounds. For now, we believe the best option is to let nature take its course and for the animal to decompose and/or wash back out to sea. We have signs at the site warning people to stay back.” The highest tides of the month are coming up next weekend, 12.9 feet on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

P.S. If you see a marine mammal on a local beach – alive or not – Seal Sitters’ hotline is 206-905-SEAL.

2:52 PM: Parks spokesperson Hirsch just sent this update after speaking with the Southwest-region crew:

This afternoon, staff were able to manually push the sea lion out into the water with large garden rakes. We had staff members waiting in the water with a large bag to catch the animal. The bag was then manually brought to the edge of the beach and a hoist was used to place it on a truck for disposal.

13 Replies to "UPDATE: Dead sea lion finally removed from West Seattle beach"

  • Steve January 9, 2017 (2:11 pm)

    I was just there. It’s not good, that thing is heavily bloated and the flesh around it’s flippers decomposed. It needs to removed. I didn’t have my cell phone with me to post a picture, but if someone could see it they would agree.

    • Bellen January 9, 2017 (5:37 pm)

      Were you able to tell how it died?

      • Steve January 10, 2017 (3:03 am)

        It appeared to have puncture and gash wounds. I first thought that it was hunted (Orca maybe) and barely escaped, albeit mortally wounded. I don’t know for sure though since it’s been dead awhile.

  • WSB January 9, 2017 (2:53 pm)

    Good news: They cleared it away this afternoon. Just added an update.

    • Steve January 10, 2017 (3:04 am)

      Goooooood…That was a bad scene.

  • nw January 9, 2017 (4:11 pm)

    How about removing the trash I see along this high profile place I can speak for my own experience in gazing out at elliott bay and the city then down at the beach and garbage. Then 5 minutes or more collecting it all up. Sad to hear about the dead marine mammal. 

  • i spell something January 9, 2017 (6:09 pm)

    that sea lion has been there for days. had it been warmer, something tells me that there would have been more of a stink (pun absolutely intended) made by folks calling or posting online and they would have had to remove it sooner. with the abnormally cold temps, it just sat there rolling in and out of the tide. i walk there every day and noticed it the first day it washed up. i was amazed it was still today at 5:45am but the sign had been posted about asking people to stay back.

    i’m just glad it didn’t happen when the decomposition would have been more pronounced and the air more fetid.

  • Jeannie January 9, 2017 (6:22 pm)

    I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but is there a correlation between marine-mammal deaths and increased pollution and trash caused by increased human (and dog) population around here?

  • Sylvia January 9, 2017 (9:21 pm)

    I saw the  poor sea lion this past Sunday and it appeared that something was around its neck.    Not being able to get closer than the seawall I wondered if that might have been the cause of its death?

  • WestCake January 9, 2017 (10:48 pm)

    It showed up on 12/29. They spray painted it, WS 12/29. Pictures were sent into the WSB. I have pictures today of them removing it as well. 

  • Alkima January 9, 2017 (11:21 pm)

    Yes I saw that poor creature as well last week.  Thank you to the folks that removed it.  I’m sure that was not a fun job at all as it was looking pretty rough.   I know this is kind of a gruesome question but did other folks think it looked like it had very light/blonde fur for a sea lion?  Or was that light color due to discoloration from being dead or awhile?  I thought most sea lions in this area were black so I was just wondering.

  • WestCake January 9, 2017 (11:58 pm)

    The white was the blubber, thick layer of fat, that keeps the seal warm.

  • WestCake January 10, 2017 (6:51 am)

    Steve, in regards to your comment about puncture wounds, I saw the sea lion the morning of 12/29 and it had no such wounds, it washed up earlier that morning, I had thought it died from old age? but not something violent. I live facing West and haven’t heard or scene any sea lions since it’s gotten colder, I also thought maybe the cold contributed to it’s death. 

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