FOLLOWUP: About Alki’s double harbor-seal weekend visit

(Photos by David Hutchinson. Above, the younger “visiting” seal)

Saturday night, we reported on Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network volunteers keeping watch on two harbor seals who turned up on Alki Beach. Here’s a followup from SSMMSN’s David Hutchinson:

Saturday afternoon, Alki Beach played host to a couple of harbor seals. It was very unusual that one of them was an adult (below).

Adult harbor seals rarely haul out on a populated beach as they have learned to be wary of humans. The fact that this animal would choose Alki, and based on body condition, some coughing and lethargic behavior, all indicate the adult seal was likely suffering from pneumonia. Many young seals are also struggling with health issues this time of year. That is why it is critical that people stay far back so these animals can rest safely.

All marine mammals are protected by federal law. If you spot any on our beaches, please keep back, ask others to stay at a distance, and leash any pets. Be sure to call the Seal Sitters Hotline at 206-905-7325. Just a friendly reminder that it is illegal for dogs to be on any Seattle Parks’ beaches on or off leash.

5 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: About Alki's double harbor-seal weekend visit"

  • Jennifer February 10, 2020 (2:10 pm)

    Doers anyone know if they can recover from pneumonia without medical intervention? I know wild animals can often recover from things better than domestic animals but I wasn’t sure about pneumonia. 

  • Isee February 10, 2020 (3:52 pm)

    WSB. The last line about dog’s on the beach is true but it’s WIDELY IGNORED. Animal control would  get writers cramp giveing out ticket’s!!!!

  • David Hutchinson February 10, 2020 (6:28 pm)

    Jennifer – Thanks for your interest and question. We asked the marine biologist that Seal Sitters consults with, who has years of experience studying harbor seals. This was her response:

    “Animals can recover from illness on their own. It depends on the severity and complicating factors such as age, body condition, immune system and any other thing that can compromise health.”

  • Jim February 10, 2020 (11:04 pm)

    I agree, the last sentence bears repeating: “Just a friendly reminder that it is illegal for dogs to be on any Seattle Parks’ beaches on or off leash.”And you SHOULD call Animal Control. At the very least, it helps them get a reading of how big the problem is. 206-386-7387 (PETS)Unfortunately, I’d be reluctant to speak with the scofflaw. Too many have an entitled attitude and are … well, it starts with an “a” and ends with an “s.” We adore our dogs, but let’s respect wildlife – and the law – too.

    • Barb February 11, 2020 (9:57 am)

      The money Animal Control would receive if they fined people who abuse the “no dogs on beach” rule could pay for more enforcement officers, thereby ensuring the law can be enforced.  So many dogs on the beaches!

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