Sick sea lion removed from West Seattle beach

6:33 PM: The photos are from Kersti Muul, one of the local wildlife advocates who had been tracking the saga of this California sea lion for the past week or so.

The sea lion, nicknamed Dudley, was severely underweight and had several signs of major illness/injury, so the state Department of Fish and Wildlife removed him this morning from the beach at Cove 3.

No veterinarian was available to euthanize the sea lion on the scene, so he had to be taken away. They would have let nature run its course, Kersti says, but he was on a public beach and that posed hazards both for him and for the public.

8:34 PM: Kersti mentioned in correspondence with us that Seal Sitters have been dealing with Dudley, and now we’ve heard from them. David Hutchinson sent this:

Since last Friday, Seal Sitters’ volunteers have been monitoring the location and condition of a lone California Sea Lion at various spots along Harbor Avenue. Nicknamed “Dudley,” this animal did not make the normal migration south this spring, possibly due to health conditions. It soon became apparent that his health was extremely compromised. He recently began hauling out at Cove #3, just north of Marination, which was a potentially dangerous spot for him and for the public. In consultation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and SR3, it was determined that the best course of action would be capture and removal from that location. This morning a crew from WDFW, along with a specialist from NOAA, successfully removed him from Cove #3 and transported him to a WDFW facility in Lakewood. Late this afternoon, we were informed that his health was compromised to the point that euthanasia was required. A necropsy will be performed tomorrow and Seal Sitters will be notified of the results.

We want to take this opportunity to thank Steve Jeffries of WDFW and his staff, along with Jeff Harris of NOAA, for their excellent job with the capture and removal. We greatly appreciate the input and assistance of Casey McClean, Co-Executive Director of SR3, in this difficult case.

Also, Seal Sitters would like to say a special thanks to Greg Whittaker of Alki Kayak Tours and his staff for their patience and cooperation these last few days.

6 Replies to "Sick sea lion removed from West Seattle beach"

  • ScubaFrog July 18, 2018 (8:55 pm)

    Head wound right side?  Sad :(  RIP Dudley

  • NativeToSeattle July 18, 2018 (9:11 pm)

    So sad.  My kids and I watched him swim around a bit on Monday and we were hoping he’d get better. 

  • WDFW Kills July 18, 2018 (11:49 pm)

    Fish and Wildlife killing an animal is nothing new.  At least the creature was sick and it wasn’t on behalf of the Cattle Producers of Washington this time.

  • Kersti Muul July 19, 2018 (8:54 am)

    normally despise WDFW, especially how they dealt with the cougar on Vashon …sent me over the edge.  The wolves; nothing I can internalize without extreme anxiety and anger.I wanted Dudley to die in peace, but due to human’s inability to leave wildlife alone, and the belief that human life is more important than all others, he was removed. I spent a week with him and he was indeed suffering and dying slowly. He was 200 pounds underweight, easy. As well as having probable testicular cancer and a rear flipper injury which inhibited his mobility for hunting/foraging. I went to document this experience from the animal’s experience and to ensure that WDFW follows protocol and has transparency. It was a difficult decision for all involved. But it was handled with as much grace as possible and Dudley is no longer suffering.  There are no Sealion rehab facilities here; nearest is California. No vet was available yesterday either which I have mixed feelings about as well. Rehab usually means that the animal is going to end up in an aquarium of sorts if it’s not rehab-able. Which to me, is a worse life than decaying at your own rate in the salish sea…

    • Ron Swanson July 19, 2018 (10:06 am)

      I’d say WDFW handled the Vashon cougar exactly the right way: letting it roam initially under the assumption it would primarily prey on deer, then humanely killing it after it became abundantly clear it had developed a taste for livestock and pets. 

  • Janet July 19, 2018 (8:52 pm)

    RIP Dudley. So sorry that we humans couldn’t do something to save you.

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