Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network has an important reminder:
Harbor seal pupping season has begun in Puget Sound, and pups will soon appear on West Seattle beaches.
DON’T TOUCH SEAL PUPS! Seals regularly haul out to rest and get warm. Undisturbed, stress-free rest is crucial for their survival. Please don’t pick them up, put them in the water, or attempt to feed them.
DO NOT APPROACH! If a nursing pup has become separated from the mother, she will be scared away by humans and dogs and may not return to her pup. It’s a matter of life and death for young seals.
When you see a seal on the beach, stay back, leash your dog, and call Seal Sitters at 206-905-SEAL (206-905-7325). We respond to reports of marine mammals, both dead and alive.
How far should you stay away from seals? NOAA guidelines say 100 yards, which is the length of 15 parked cars or one city block. At our public beaches, it may be hard to to keep that distance, but simply put: if the animal notices you, begins to fidget, or starts to flee into the water, YOU ARE TOO CLOSE. Please, back off.
Because of COVID-19, Seal Sitters may not be setting up yellow tape perimeters as in the past and may not be present at all times. You can help by respecting our signage, alerting others and asking them to leash their pets. Marine mammals are protected by law; disturbing them is considered harassment and is illegal. Please report violations to the Seal Sitters hotline at 206-905-7325.
For more information, check out the Blubber Blog at BlubberBlog.org. (Seal Sitters has temporarily suspended our volunteer training until the COVID situation improves.)