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Seal pups in two locations keep responders on the run

Around 1:30 this afternoon, hotline operator Larry called with a report of a seal pup just south of Lincoln Park’s Colman Pool. First responders David and Eilene arrived on the scene and noticed the pup about half way down to the water’s edge. An adult accompanying a small group of kindergarteners helped her set a partial yellow tape perimeter along the walkway.

The tide was low, however, and the pup made a quick move toward the safety of Puget Sound. After lingering briefly in the water which lapped the shore, he swam off and headed north. The responders checked both north and south of the pool for about 30 minutes, but saw no further sign of the pup. They spoke with people about seal pup health and behavior and distributed educational materials before leaving the park. This pup seemed relatively healthy in appearance and body weight.

A second pup was reported at 5pm along the Alki Promenade beach stairs, but the pup was gone when volunteers arrived. It was the same location where a pup had been seen resting on shore on January 20th.

Seal pup Ziggy snoozes in the wee hours

Very early Saturday morning on a public beach notorious for illegally off-leash dogs, Seal Sitters first responder protected our first seal pup visitor of 2016. The hotline had received reports the previous two days of a pup before sunrise at this location, but there was no pup to be found when responders arrived.

Convinced the pup was probably using the beach each night, our responder was out in the rain at 6:30am to see if the pup was there. Indeed, she found a quite small seal pup sound asleep at the water’s edge. The entrance to the small beach was immediately taped off to prevent access. Due to the early hour and inclement weather, the park was deserted. Over the next few hours, only a handful of diehard people exercising their dogs stopped to inquire about the seal, who moved up into the rocks with the incoming “king” tide. The pup, nicknamed Ziggy, returned to Elliott Bay about 9:30am as the tide swept in and over the log he was sleeping behind.

Ziggy is not one of the few pups we looked over last year and is estimated to be anywhere from 5-7 months old (pups are born in South Puget Sound from late June - September). Like most weaned pups, he seems to have some winter respiratory issues. Undisrupted rest is critical to Ziggy and other underweight weaners, who can’t afford to waste calories being chased back into the cold January waters. They need to rest and warm up.

A second seal pup seems to be sleeping on a different beach during the late night/early morning hours as well. This is a much safer scenario than coming ashore on crowded urban beaches during daylight hours.

If you see a pup onshore, please allow space and stay back - and call Seal Sitters’ dedicated hotline @ 206-905-SEAL (7325).
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