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Warmest wishes for the holiday season

’Tis the season to reflect on all of the good things in our lives. Seal Sitters is so grateful for our dedicated volunteers and supporters. We cannot provide safety for marine mammals without you!

We are also incredibly grateful for this opportunity to help wildlife; the joy of earning the trust of a wild being and making a difference in his/her survival is truly unsurpassed.

Seal Sitters wishes all of you a wonderful holiday season and coming new year.

Christmas seal Paz improves in rehab

Seal Sitters received a “pupdate” this morning from PAWS Wildlife Center that seal pup Paz made it through the holiday weekend and is improving each day. The female pup is “finally gaining some weight and is on solid food.”

Paz, who was suffering from seizures, was rescued by Seal Sitters first responders from a West Seattle public beach early in the evening on the 22nd.

Examination at PAWS revealed that in addition to suffering from emaciation and hypoglycemia, Paz also had lung worms, but was not stable enough to be treated for the parasite load. Underweight seal pups with weakened immune systems often become infested with parasites during the cold, wet fall and winter months, which can result in serious respiratory issues and pneumonia. It is great news that Paz has the strength to start treatment to clear her lungs of dangerous parasites. She will continue to be closely monitored by PAWS’ rehab staff.

We are encouraged that Paz, a tiny pup measuring only 83cm in length, is on the mend enough to be enjoying swims in a big pool, complete with a green astroturf haulout (photo above). Her rehabilitation will be lengthy and Paz still faces many difficulties on an uphill road to recovery.

Seal pup Paz receives present of kindness and rescue

Early Tuesday evening on the public beach at Jack Block Park, a harbor seal pup was rescued by Seal Sitters first responders. The thin pup was having seizures. After a call to PAWS Wildlife Center to ensure that staff would be available after hours, the barely responsive pup was carried from the beach as a cold rain began to fall and driven to the treatment facility in Lynnwood.

It was our fear that the pup would need to be euthanized, but she showed signs of life when examined at PAWS. Late the following afternoon, we received the good news that the small female had managed to survive the night and was in “critical, but guarded” condition. She was emaciated, weighing only 12.8 kgs (close to birth weight) and quite hypoglycemic. Further tests were being run and we will keep you posted on her progress.

We can’t thank Raina, Ashley and other PAWS’ staff enough for staying late to accept the pup, nicknamed Paz (“peace” in Spanish), and provide care for her as she faces many challenges in the days ahead.

Seal Sitters hopes Paz will be a true Christmas miracle. There would be no greater gift this holiday season than her recovery and return back to the wild, a healthy and chubby seal.

December brings gift of seal pups

Out on a pre-dawn search Monday for seal pup Dreidel (seen the day before at Jack Block Park with a serious, deep slash across the throat), Seal Sitters first responder instead found another pup at the base of beach steps on a small pocket beach.

Blocking off access to the beach, she set a tape perimeter, back from edge of the sea wall above the soundly snoozing pup. While it was difficult to get an identification photo of the pup, nestled against the cement, it was easy to see the smooth fur around the neck since he was sleeping belly up. This was a new pup.

Volunteers watched over him (or her) in a driving rain until shortly after 10am, when the pup swam off into Puget Sound.

Late that night, the hotline received a report of a pup surrounded by people taking photos on a different beach. First responders arrived minutes later, but the pup was gone. On the way home, they checked the pocket beach and, sure enough, the light-colored little pup that had been there earlier in the day was back again. In a downpour, once again a perimeter was set, with informational and “do not enter” signs to alert people of his presence, in hopes of keeping the pup relatively safe through the night.

At 6am, the silvery silhouette of the pup, illuminated by streetlight, could be seen at the base of the stairs. As skies brightened a bit despite the relentless rain, we were finally able to get an i.d. photo and the pup was nicknamed Mugsy (photo above). Volunteers chatted with enchanted passersby. Around 10am, Mugsy swam off for a late breakfast of squid, herring or other small fish.

Mugsy is the fourth positively identified pup we have had since November 29th.

Below another sea wall late in the day on Wednesday, the 2nd, seal pup Corny slept among some large logs in an Elliott Bay cove. The next morning, he came ashore (photo left) at the very dangerous Don Armeni boat launch, scooting over logs and up into the asphalt lot, where garbage trucks, pickups with boat trailers and passenger cars drive through on a regular basis. Seal Sitters first responder and helpful Coast Guard “assistants” gently encouraged Corny to return to the safety of the water.

There still has been no sighting of the wounded pup. If you see a pup onshore, please call Seal Sitters’ hotline immediately @ 206-905-SEAL (7325) and keep people and dogs away.

It appears that after almost two months of virtually no responses, the seal pup drought has finally ended. Thanks to our first responders and volunteers out at all hours of the day and night, keeping pups safe!

Seal Sitters on high alert for seriously wounded seal pup

Just as the Seattle Seahawks game hit halftime yesterday, first responder Robin got a call from hotline operator Renee about a seal pup on the fenced beach at Jack Block Park. Expecting to just run down and get an i.d. photo since that beach is inaccessible to the public (and, therefore, off leash dogs as well), she was saddened to see a deep, slicing wound on the pup’s neck.

The fact that the pup was quite alert and positioned close to the water’s edge made the likelihood of a successful rescue very dubious. More likely than not, instead of being able to capture the pup, responders would have scared him into the water. Since he/she desperately need rest and the beach was secure from human harassment, we decided to let him rest in hopes for a chance of rescue today. The pup slept pretty soundly the rest of the afternoon and responders made arrangements with PAWS Wildlife Center, recently on overload with oiled geese, to ensure they had space to treat the pup.

We ask that the public call Seal Sitters’ hotline @ 206-905-SEAL (7325) immediately upon seeing a seal pup onshore. Only members of NOAA’s Marine Mammal Stranding Network have the authority to handle marine mammals. Please stay far back and keep dogs leashed. It is urgent that we get the pup medical attention from this human-caused injury. Thanks to Tracy and the West Seattle Blog for helping us spread the word for people to be on the lookout.

The pup was named Dreidel by Seal Sitters volunteer Noelle and friend Karen out for a stroll at the waterfront park. The name is in honor of the first day of Hanukkah. This is the third seal pup this week that Seal Sitters has responded to along the shores of Elliott Bay.

Marine debris and toxic trash can cause entanglement, serious injury and death to marine marine mammals and other sea life. Read more on Seal Sitters’ website in our newly expanded marine debris section.
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