|However tempting it may be, this little pup is not calling out for|
you to comfort it! (Photo by Jan North)
|Seal pups seem to have knack for finding dangerous spots|
to haul out on
The goal of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network is to educate beach goers about the ecological and behavioral needs of the seals while making sure they maintain the appropriate distance (the National Marine Fisheries Service recommends maintaining a minimum distance of 100 yards from any marine mammal). This distance minimizes the likelihood of disturbing a resting animal or stressing an animal that is recovering from illness or injury.
|It's very easy to disturb a pup that's resting on the beach. Most of the|
seals we encounter on our beaches are too young to have developed
"protective wariness" (they don't yet have an escape response when they are approached)
If you're in East Jefferson County (shoreline beginning at Discovery Bay, covering all of Port Townsend and extending down to Brinnon) call us here at the Marine Science Center:
The number for the east Jefferson County Marine Mammal stranding network hotline (checked 7 days a week) is:
If you're anywhere else along the shores of Washington or Oregon, the number for the Northwest Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline is:
Further, here are some tips courtesy of NOAA Fisheries:
Things You Can Do to Promote Responsible Wildlife Viewing
1. Observe from a distance using binoculars or a spotting scope if you want to see the animal close up.
2. Keep pets away. Dogs are naturally curious about other animals in their environment. Seals pups can easily fall prey to dogs, to avoid a negative interaction dogs should be leashed and kept away from the seals on the beach. Older seals may bite in self defense. Some diseases are infectious to both dogs and seals, and may pose a risk to humans as well, if they come in direct contact with an infected animal.
Thanks everyone who works with us to protect the welfare of local marine mammals!
Natural History Exhibit Education Coordinator