Another seal pup rescued in West Seattle, likely ‘abandoned due to human activity’

If you see a seal on the beach – keep your distance, for their sake. David Hutchinson of Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network sent this report and photos after another rescue:

Seal Sitters MMSN responded Wednesday to the second orphaned harbor seal pup in the last 2 weeks. This thin pup was first reported in the morning on private property along Beach Drive SW. He returned to the water early in the afternoon and just after 5 PM, Seal Sitters’ Hotline received a call about a pup on Alki Beach at 55th Ave SW. Spot comparison photos confirmed that this was the same animal.

A perimeter was set up to keep people back and First Responders monitored the tiny pup while answering the many questions from folks out enjoying the sunny day. The pup stayed ashore only briefly, but returned to the beach around 7 PM. He was observed at that time to be very lethargic with tremors. Phone calls were placed to NOAA’s regional stranding coordinator to see what options were available to rescue the pup from this dangerous location and stabilize overnight. When the incoming tide began to roll the weakened pup in the surf, he was removed from the water by the Seal Sitters’ First Responder and placed above the high tide line. NOTE: Only authorized members of NOAA’s Marine Mammal Stranding Network are allowed to handle seal pups.

Casey Mclean, SR3 Executive Director and Veterinary Nurse, agreed to come for an evaluation and removal from the beach. The pup weighed 8 kg (17.6 lbs). His glucose level was very low, he was dehydrated and was suffering from hypothermia. A small umbilical stump was noted and age estimated at a week or so. Casey began some preliminary treatment including starting fluids. If this pup survives, it is hoped that he can be transferred to one of the scarce rehabilitation spots that are available.

Harbor seal birthing season is from late June through September in our area of Puget Sound. These pups would normally spend from 4-6 weeks nursing before having to face life on their own. About 50% don’t make it through their first year.

Seal Sitters would like to thank the individuals who reported this struggling animal to our Hotline. We have had to adjust some of our normal procedures because of the COVID-19 restrictions, but will be doing our best to respond to your calls.

Based on the urban location, it is highly likely this newborn seal was abandoned due to human activity. Always stay back when you see a seal pup on the beach and call Seal Sitters’ Hotline at 206-905-7325 (SEAL).

Here’s the report on last month’s rescue.

13 Replies to "Another seal pup rescued in West Seattle, likely 'abandoned due to human activity'"

  • Melissa A August 6, 2020 (2:44 pm)

    That little seal image breaks my heart. Thanks to the good people at SR3 & Seal Sitters. I’ve just made a donation to SR3. Can I provide the link to the donate page for SR3? Looks like the Seal Sitters link is above:

  • anonyme August 6, 2020 (3:25 pm)

    Can we just ban human beings, please?  Not just on the beach (tho that would be a start) but everywhere?  Worst.species.ever.

  • David Hutchinson August 6, 2020 (4:04 pm)

    UPDATE:  SR3 reports that yesterday’s pup, nicknamed “Jude”, is alert and doing fairly well this morning. He will be transported to the Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on San Juan Island later today. Just a reminder that the established protocol is for the public to notify their local NOAA affiliated stranding network first, so volunteers can respond to the site and evaluate the situation. That stranding network is then responsible for contacting SR3 or a NOAA approved vet for further examination of the animal if necessary. Seal Sitters MMSN’s territory is West Seattle, from Brace Point around the peninsula through the Duwamish River including Harbor Island. Our Hotline number is 206-905-7325.

    • WSB August 6, 2020 (6:18 pm)

      Thank you for the update! Hope Jude, and Echo from last month, will be able to be returned to the wild someday.

  • Community Member August 6, 2020 (4:20 pm)

    I don’t understand why there is an automatic conclusion blaming human activity. The pup was flushed out of his high-tide hiding-place in the logs by hundreds of CROWS.  After being flushed out, the pup managed to travel by himself from the high tide mark all the way out to the low tide line.  It was a very low tide, so that was a couple hundred feet, and took several hours. The crows mostly stopped harassing the pup after there was space between the pup and the beach logs. No humans or dogs approached the seal pup during that long distance. Perhaps the pup had already been abandoned, or perhaps mom came back after dark.

    • Chemist August 6, 2020 (9:14 pm)

      Some human activity is not kind.  The pup from last month, echo, was written up on the SS blog as having had rocks thrown at it from the promenade (there’s some anti copy-paste script so I won’t quote it).

      • WSlite August 7, 2020 (9:19 am)

        I can’t believe they were throwing rocks at the tiny seal pup! Poor baby. That’s awful! Some humans just are the worst life form on this entire planet. I don’t understand how people can become that sort of person thinking harming animals is okay, sickening. If I personally saw people throwing rocks at any animal, I would lose my (bleep) and go off those people making them stop. 

  • My mommy is hunting for fish for me to eat August 6, 2020 (5:49 pm)

    Some people are such idiots,there are signs saying leave the baby seals alone, for those people who don’t know that the baby seals are fine.  Probably the same people who go to Yellowstone and see a baby deer or buffalo and pick it up and put it in their back seat of their car.Leave Wild Life Alone!

  • John W August 6, 2020 (8:48 pm)

    Little discussed in this forum is the unfortunate death of seal pups by feathered predators.   Last year I came upon an apparently beheaded seal pup on our remote uninhabited beach on Hood Canal.  I photographed it and sent it to NOA, who called back.  I know the seals are not liked by the Tribal gill netters that are allowed to string their nets from our shore, but NOA suggested no foul play, and likely the work of the Bald Eagles common to the area.  The high fatality rate of seal pups is also related to transient orcas. 

    • WSB August 6, 2020 (10:28 pm)

      Can’t change the wildlife behavior. Humans, different story.

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