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3 seal pups in 3 days as pupping season hits our urban shores

Around 2pm yesterday afternoon, a small harbor seal pup flip-flopped out of Puget Sound’s frigid waters and onto the shore at Lincoln Park. The third reported pup in three days on West Seattle’s shoreline, he (or she) was on the thin side, but alert and moved well back and forth on the beach.

Unlike sea lions, harbor seals can’t rotate their rear flippers to aid in locomotion on land. Though highly acrobatic in the water, they move with a caterpillar-like motion on shore and are much more vulnerable as they seek rest and try to warm up. Never return a seal pup to the water - rest is critical to their survival. Sometimes, they will shiver as they try to regulate their body temperature. This is normal. Never wrap a pup in a towel or blanket - this can cause brain damage or death. It is illegal to touch, move or feed seal pups.

Quickly arriving at the park, Seal Sitters first responders established a perimeter with tape, cones and informational signs and talked to quite a number of people who expressed both interest and support. 6-year-old Alice named the pup Adventure, who settled in for a long nap between the beach logs. Volunteers stood watch in two-hour shifts until darkness fell in the park. Thanks to all the volunteers who put in a very long day yesterday!

Our first responder sought Adventure at 6am this morning as the pink light of dawn reflected in the still, blue waters of the Sound. The pup was no longer in his log hideaway and we assume had returned for a late-night snack or early breakfast - perhaps from mom, but more likely he is weaned and foraging on his own.

Please call our dedicated hotline at 206-697-7801(SEAL) if you see a seal pup (or other marine mammal) on the beach. Having extra eyes on the beach from the public greatly enables Seal Sitters MMSN to give pups the sanctuary they need - and deserve - on shore.
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