Seal-pup season finally arrives on West Seattle’s shore


For the first time this seal-pup season, Seal Sitters have had a West Seattle visitor to protect. We mentioned this briefly in our coverage of the Alki Art Fair‘s second day; we stopped by the Seal Sitters booth near the Alki Bathhouse, and asked volunteers David and Eilene Hutchinson if the group still hadn’t had any local pup reports. In fact, they told us, the first one of the season had happened the day before – someone came up to the booth on Saturday and reported a seal pup on Alki Beach, near the volleyball courts. It went back into the water just after 9 pm.

A pup also turned up on Sunday, at some point after we talked to the Hutchinsons; we don’t know if it was the same one – we’re checking – but we have the photo courtesy of Andrea Howell. And it’s a chance for us to remind you about what to do and what NOT to do if you see a seal pup: Don’t get close to it – that’s not just a request, but federal law. Don’t touch it. Do report it to a marine-mammal stranding network so they can keep watch – in the West Seattle area, that’s Seal Sitters, and their hotline is 206-905-SEAL. Complete information on pupping season and best beach behavior is here.

2 Replies to "Seal-pup season finally arrives on West Seattle's shore"

  • Lisa July 25, 2016 (9:38 am)

    He or she was there yesterday – the Seal Sitters volunteers told us there was a 50/50 chance they’d live if they could get back out to the water. They were just hoping the tide would come in and they would swim back out. Does anyone know if he or she is still there? 

  • Robin/Seal Sitters July 25, 2016 (4:44 pm)

    Sorry if there was some kind of misunderstanding about the 50% statistic. Seal pups have a 50% chance of survival their first year of life. This can be due to many factors – among those are disease, birth defects, and predation. Human interference causing abandonment is certainly a cause as well. 

    Adults and newborn or weaned seal pups spend about 1/2 their day out of the water, trying to rest and warm up. It is NORMAL for them to spend long periods onshore. 

    The goal of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, of which Seal Sitters is a partner, is to let seal pups rest along our shoreline as long as they need to.  A thin pup, such as the one we have been monitoring along Alki Beach, may require longer periods of rest – hopefully, undisrupted by people and illegally off-leash dogs (WAY too many dogs pm the beach). Every year in Puget Sound, seal pups are injured and killed by off-leash dogs.

    The pup has been coming and going from the beach each day which is a good sign. Rest assured our volunteers are keeping a very close eye on this pup and monitoring his/her health.


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