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Seal pup Butterball arrives just in time for Thanksgiving

Seal Sitters’ hotline operator Dave fielded a call last evening of a pup on the dock at Don Armeni boat launch. First responder Lynn was on the scene within minutes and fellow responders David and Robin were right behind her. They blocked off access to the dock with barricades and Protected Marine Mammal tape. After observing the pup for some time, responders left the deserted and quiet area. The pup, nicknamed Butterball, was snoozing soundly - and safely - at the end of the wooden structure.

Lynn (with husband Don in tow) checked on Butterball at 9pm and he was still fast asleep, with no people in sight and the perimeter intact. This morning at 6am, he was gone - probably out for a breakfast of squid and small herring that are frequenting Eliiott Bay now.

As always, if you see a seal pup (or other marine mammal onshore) please call our dedicated hotline at 206-905-SEAL (7325).

Butterball is one of only a few pups we have had in the past month - much quieter than any prior year. After a lengthy conversation with our consulting WDFW marine mammal biologist, perhaps we are seeing less pups onshore this season because the population is actually healthier than usual. While we have had more than our share of death, we haven’t had as many emaciated pups resting on West Seattle’s busy beaches. Maybe there are more successful pups this season and they are choosing to rest at night, like Butterball, on docks and offshore platforms - or on less accessible beaches with fewer people and dogs. Indeed, this year in area rookeries there was significantly less mortality of newborn and newly-weaned pups. While we miss being able to protect these amazing wild animals, it is certainly much better that they rest in less dangerous locations.

On this day of thanks, Seal Sitters MMSN would like to thank our volunteers for their dedication to protecting marine life - you are AWESOME! We would also like to thank the public for your continued support - we can’t do it without you! The seals are so lucky to have all of you. Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!
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