Sad news from Seal Sitters: Primo the pup didn’t make it

(Photo copyright Robin Lindsey)
Just received this from Seal SittersRobin Lindsey, regarding Primo, the first seal pup to turn up on a West Seattle beach this pupping season:

She was just so excruciatingly thin that she did not have the strength to survive the night in the San Juans. She was a real fighter, however, and had an extreme will to live. It is too bad that more people didn’t get the opportunity to see how alert and beautiful she truly was.

The San Juans reference involves the free flight that Primo got the other day to a wildlife refuge up there that was able to take her when it was determined intervention was needed to try to save her. More details on the Seal Sitters’ blubberblog site.

14 Replies to "Sad news from Seal Sitters: Primo the pup didn't make it"

  • Mookie August 14, 2010 (11:26 am)

    Awww. R.I.P. baby seal. Thank you to Seal Sitters, Wolf Hollow, PAWS, Kristin, Dyanna, and Kenmore Air for their collective efforts and care for Primo!

  • Alki Resident August 14, 2010 (11:31 am)

    We saw her the day she came up on the beach,very pretty girl.I wonder had humans not transported her elsewhere,she would still be alive today.Seems seal sitters is too eager to play god,and rush onlookers away so they can stay around and take pics etc. and dont allow mother nature to take its course.She was pretty trapped being so close to the big rocks and not enough beach when the tide was coming in,she didnt have enough space to roam.

  • Roger August 14, 2010 (11:32 am)

    A little sad this morning hearing this news. Thanks to everyone who put forth efforts to save this pup.

  • d August 14, 2010 (12:03 pm)

    Alki Resident –

    consider for a moment the possibility that mother seal set her pup in a protected, restricted area of the beach deliberately; that mother seal knew she had a greviously vulnerable pup and provided the pup the best she was able to ensure her safety by using that site. The pup’s mother may have known what you do not seem to be taking into account – that a failing pup is prey. The mother might have been attempting to restrict access by predators, whatever and WHOMEVER that might include. Additionally, taping off the area is consistent with federal and state protection of these creatures. Photos taken are relayed to wildlife professionals for electronically- transmitted assessments. They are not taking photos simply to adorn a gallery or blog. And these photos are used for educational Programs as well. Just a few thoughts to consider.

  • David Hutchinson August 14, 2010 (12:52 pm)

    Alki Resident…
    .
    As a volunteer with Seal Sitters, I would like to offer some thoughts on a few of the points you made in your comment.
    .
    1. Seal Sitters is in a very awkward position. If they do nothing and the seal pup dies, they are accused of neglect. I was present earlier this year near the Alki Bathhouse when “Sea Star” died in front of a large number of onlookers. I heard comments critical of the fact that “nothing” had been done to save the pup. When they do intervene, and there is a bad outcome, they are accused of causing this outcome.
    .
    2. From my experience with Seal Sitters, they do not “rush onlookers away so they can stay around and take pics”. We are instructed to set up a perimeter at a sufficient distance from the pup. People walking by are asked not to enter this safety zone and are provided with information on the habits of harbor seals and sometimes offered binoculars for a closer look at the pup. Special attention is paid to situations involving off leash dogs. Photos are taken with a telephoto lens and are sent to NOAA for diagnostic purposes (eye or nose discharge, open wounds, general appearance, etc.).
    .
    3. As far as not having enough space to roam, Primo had hauled out at a number of sites all along Alki over the days preceding her capture and transport. These ranged from the east end of the beach near the rocks to the private beaches at the west end.
    .
    Primo was very underweight for her age (estimated to be 2-3 weeks), 13 lbs compared to 18-26 lbs for a normal newborn. She was dehydrated and appeared to be on her own with no mother present. I was there early Wednesday morning and assisted another volunteer and Robin Lindsey in gently encouraging Primo to enter a small portable kennel. From my experience with Seal sitters, the decision to capture and transport a pup is always made with reluctance after due consideration of its condition and the possible impact of the move. The consequences of leaving Primo to fend for herself would have been to condemn her to a slow death by starvation.
    .
    For more detailed information please visit the Seal Sitters Blubberblog at: http://www.blubberblog.org/
    .
    David Hutchinson

  • Robin August 14, 2010 (6:47 pm)

    Primo had been observed by Seal Sitters since Friday night when we received our first call about a pup on the beach. She was dreadfully thin that first night and it was feared she would be found dead the next morning. However, she managed to haul out over the next few days on various sections of Alki Beach. It was obvious due to her extremely gaunt condition that she had no mother nursing her. Primo was only approximately three weeks old and was on her own. There are many reasons she might have been alone – one of which is human intervention which might have caused her mother to abandon her. That is precisely what Seal Sitters strives to prevent. When she hauled out Tuesday afternoon on the sandy public part of Alki Beach it was very obvious that she was in serious trouble and was doubly thin. The WDFW biologist and NOAA stranding expert determined from our photos that she should be removed form the beach Wednesday morning for euthanasia so that she did not suffer on the beach any longer. That morning, however, it was decided by NOAA to try one last ditch effort to save her by flying her to Wolf Hollow in the San Juans. Seal Sitters is not in a position to make life and death decisions on the beach. We send photos to the experts for analysis and abide by their decisions and act only under their authority. Certainly we NEVER “trap” seal pups on the beach so they cannot leave.

  • mitch August 14, 2010 (11:53 pm)

    Get a grip folks. It’s a fricking seal. Go feed some homeless people. Donate to a food bank. Volunteer at a retirement home. Tutor at an inner city school. Get off the Barcalounger.

    A NOAA ‘stranding expert’? No wonder there’s a tea party movement.

    As the Hopi say, Koyaanisqatsi – life out of balance.

  • ten August 15, 2010 (7:10 am)

    Thankfully, unlike “mitch”, there are people in this world who believe that animals have equal value to humans and who treasure their presence on this planet. And the Hopi whom he so readily quotes, were one group of humans who most certainly did – respecting and learning about life from animals, as represented in their lore.

    I would love to know how many hours Mitch actually donates to volunteerism. His ethnocentric mentality is not only sad and embarrassing, but pathetic.

  • wsnative August 15, 2010 (1:04 pm)

    I could not agree with Mitch more! Yes, it is very sad that the baby seal died but seriously….spending $$ to fly it to the San Juans?

  • miws August 15, 2010 (6:48 pm)

    Ummmm……Kenmore Air generously provided the flight.

    .

    Mike

  • Chris August 16, 2010 (6:59 am)

    I can see both sides of this issue. While I tend to lean just a little more toward “mitch” in ideal, I understand where “ten” is coming from as well.

    Life is out of balance, and it’s not always fair, but then if we removed some of the other issues we have… like prison overcrowding as just one example, the millions of dollars saved could be used for both causes… we could take care of more homeless and starving people AND help the seals…

    now wouldn’t that be great…?

    My main question is: Why, after noting that (per Robins comment above), ” It was obvious due to her extremely gaunt condition that she had no mother nursing her. Primo was only approximately three weeks old and was on her own.” and “When she hauled out Tuesday afternoon on the sandy public part of Alki Beach it was very obvious that she was in serious trouble and was doubly thin. The WDFW biologist and NOAA stranding expert determined from our photos that she should be removed form the beach Wednesday morning for euthanasia so that she did not suffer on the beach any longer. That morning, however, it was decided by NOAA to try one last ditch effort to save her by flying her to Wolf Hollow in the San Juans.” did they not transport the pup to a zoo or other licensed facility where she could be fed, rehabilitated, and released back into the wild, rather than transporting her to another beach where she would face the same problems.

    If there was no mother for her to nurse from at beach A, what makes them think that by moving her to beach B one will magically appear…? This “last ditch effort” was a waste of time and taxpayer money… and before you point out again that Kenmore Air “donated” the flight, remember that they will be able to take it as a tax right off as a contribution to a non-profit, and most likely will… the fuel and pilot still have to be paid for from somewhere, and ultimately it will come back to people who are already hard hit in this economy paying their taxes and sucking it up.

  • George F Bush August 16, 2010 (2:59 pm)

    Get a grip mitch. If you are too oblivious to the effects that humans have had on wildlife and habitat all over the world to see that we have passed the point where we need to value things other than people even more than our insurance industries value people, then it’s best if you just sit back, shut up, enjoy your McDonald’s Happy Meal (made with Amazon Rainforest Cattle – Yum!) and not impede those who get it.

  • Mary Ellen August 27, 2010 (12:46 pm)

    Thank you for trying to save the pup. It’s nice to know there are compassionate people in the world

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