That’s a harbor seal photographed during a visit to Alki (yes, with a long lens) by David Hutchinson with Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network. We asked him about other seal reports we’d heard this week, and he said a busier-than-usual season continues:
Every year is different, but traditionally the winter months see a tapering off in the number of Seal Sitters’ responses. Yesterday was an exception, with 4 calls to our Hotline about young harbor seal pups hauled out on West Seattle beaches.
The first was at Lincoln Park and after a period of time, it was decided to call in support from our partner, SR3 (Sealife Response, Rehabilitation and Research). Veterinary staff arrived, did a health assessment, and after consulting with Seal Sitters it was decided that the pup was in need of additional medical diagnostics and treatment. The pup was transported to their marine mammal hospital in Des Moines. SR3 responds at the request of marine mammal stranding network members, not from the general public, so if you come across a seal the first step is to call the Seal Sitters’ Hotline.
The other 3 calls concerned pups at different locations along Alki Ave, one of which was scared into the water by people and a dog coming too close while the reporting party was still talking with the Hotline. Harbor seals and other marine mammals are protected by federal law, and just a reminder that dogs are not allowed on Seattle Parks’ beaches. It is normal for these animals to rest on the beach, with young vulnerable pups not realizing the dangers of coming ashore in a dense urban area. The photo is of one of these Alki pups, where a protective perimeter was set up and staffed by volunteers who provided information to passersby.
If you come across a marine mammal, alive or dead on a West Seattle Beach, please keep back, ask others to do the same, and call the Seal Sitters’ Hotline at 206-905-7325.
If this helps you remember that number – it’s also 206-905-SEAL.