See Seal Sitters’ ‘surprise visitor’

The photo and report are from David Hutchinson of Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network:

Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network had a surprise visitor this week.

“Pearl,” an adult female harbor seal, who gave birth and nursed her pup for weeks along the West Seattle shoreline in 2018, returned with a new pup this season. She was identified by comparing new photos of the spots on her fur with similar photos taken last year. The 2018 pup was nicknamed “Jam”, as they were first spotted the day after the Alki Sub Pop concert. This year’s pup has been named “Minnie Pearl” in keeping with the entertainment theme – although you probably would have to be of a certain age to get the connection.

It is very unusual to have the opportunity to observe a nursing mom and pup in busy West Seattle. Newborn harbor seals rely exclusively on their mother’s milk, so it’s extremely important that Pearl not be frightened away and possibly abandon her pup. Pups remain with their mothers for only 4 – 6 weeks before having to survive on their own. Seals this young don’t have the strength to swim for extended periods or an adequate blubber thickness for warmth. They need every opportunity to haul out of the water to rest and warm up. Their first year mortality rate is approximately 50%.

All marine mammals are protected by federal law. Any observed violations are referred to NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement for investigation. It’s now “pupping season” in south Puget Sound. If you come across Pearl & Minnie Pearl, or any other seal on the beach or on a nearby offshore rock, we’re asking you to give them plenty of space, keep others and pets away, and call the Seal Sitters’ Hotline at 206-905-7325. To learn more about harbor seals and other local marine mammals, please visit our website at


7 Replies to "See Seal Sitters' 'surprise visitor'"

  • WSOwl August 7, 2019 (10:19 am)

    Great effort Pearl! Nice to read some good news.

  • waikikigirl August 7, 2019 (10:19 am)

    Does Minnie have the infamous “price tag” on her somewhere we can’t see, I don’t see her wearing a hat? LOL!!!

  • Maria August 7, 2019 (11:04 am)

     Howdeeeeee, Minnie Pearl!  Welcome to Alki.

  • oakley34 August 7, 2019 (11:31 am)

    Minnie Pearl was on TV into the 90s…so those that remember her aren’t THAT old!  Glad to see some good WS seal news!

  • annika August 7, 2019 (1:39 pm)

    Wonderful photo, David.  Thanks for sharing!  :)

  • Kathy August 8, 2019 (12:01 am)

    What sweet and wonderful news!   What a sweet pair!  All the more reason, EVERYONE must obey the rules, be respectful of our wildlife and keep their dogs on a leash along our West Seattle shores and our Seattle Parks!  

  • diverlaura August 8, 2019 (10:49 pm)

    pearl and mini were out visiting the kayakers and paddle boarders the other day. everyone was very respectful, and it was the seal doing the following around.  such a needed beautiful bright spot of good news. Lets hope mini gets rolly-polly and stays fat and happy come weaning time. 

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