Monday, July 20, 2009

Share the Shore

During the summer months, it's possible that you may happen upon a seal pup while walking on the beach. Seal pups regularly haul out for several hours a day to sleep, regulate their body temperature, and socialize. Young pups don't know how to protect themselves and are extremely vulnerable. It is completely natural for these seals to haul out, and we need to remember a few key points to Share the Shore with these fascinating creatures.
  1. Keep your distance. Staying at least 100 yards away is best. If you want to see the animals close up, use binoculars or a spotting scope.
  2. Do not touch a seal pup. These pups are resting and warming up and need to be left alone. The mother seal will not return to her pup while people are near.
  3. Keep pets away, and on a leash. Dogs can be quite interested in their surroundings, but an aggressive older seal could bite a curious dog. Also, some seals carry diseases that can be transferred to dogs and humans.
  4. Alert your neighbors. If you see a seal pup on the shore, inform your neighbors and remind them to keep dogs away.
  5. Call your local Marine Mammal Stranding Network. If a seal pup has been left alone for 48 hours or appears injured, call (360) 385-5582, extension 103 for any marine mammal stranded in East Jefferson County. For other areas, please click here.
For more information on what you can do to Share the Shore, click here for information (PDF) from NOAA and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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