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Seal Sitters featured on Seattle Channel tomorrow, Sept 16

Seal Sitters will be featured on the Seattle Channel’s fall premiere night, Thursday, September 16, at 7 pm. The Seattle Channel is channel 21 on Comcast cable systems so check your local listings for the show “City Stream.” The segment, “Seattle Seal Sitters”, was produced by Emmy award-winning journalist, Penny LeGate, and videographer, Shannon Gee. This production team was present as Seal Sitters watched over both Primo and Spike over the course of two weeks. The segment will feature interviews with volunteers, the public and footage of the two seal pups who struggled to survive. We thank Penny and Shannon for their passionate commitment to helping educate the public about our beloved blubberballs.

Sad news from the San Juans

“When angels fell, some fell on the land, some on the sea.
The former are the faeries, and the latter were often said to be the seals.”
~ anonymous Orcadian

Primo, our little seal angel, died Wednesday at Wolf Hollow on San Juan Island. She survived the plane trip, but was just too thin and weak to make it through the night. Primo had exhausted her entire fat store in a determined effort to make it on her own. We will not soon forget her spirit.

Seal pup Primo flying to the San Juan Islands

Seal Sitters is elated to share the news that our little pup Primo is winging her way to the San Juans as we speak. With the authorization of NOAA, SS volunteers removed Primo from the beach at 6:45 this morning. She spent the entire night on the beach tucked behind a log. Volunteers checked on her throughout the night and were on the scene before daylight. Primo was driven to PAWS where she was quickly evaluated by their staff.

As of last evening, it was determined she would most likely need to be euthanized this morning. Volunteers were disheartened at her downturn yesterday afternoon and evening, though we tried our best to keep our hopes up and remain positive. As many of you know, seal pups only have about a 50% survival rate. She had been thin from the very day she hauled out on the south end of Alki Beach, but was excruciatingly thin yesterday. It was obvious that Primo was in a serious situation. Kristin Wilkinson (NOAA) and Dyanna Lambourn (WDFW) began to put things into motion late yesterday to see what steps could be taken to help Primo.

Upon Primo’s arrival at PAWS this morning, she (yes, our first pup is a little girl) exhibited some feisty behavior that led the team to think that she might be able to survive. She was severely dehydrated so they stabilized her with fluids and a dextrose solution. She had no lesions in her mouth, but did have an exposed opening where the umbilicus had been attached. Since this is a vulnerable spot for pups to get deadly infections, she was immediately started on antibiotics. She weighed just over 13 lbs. The typical weight of a newborn seal is 18-26 pounds, which gives an idea of how thin she truly was. Her age is estimated to be 2-3 weeks old. There are many scenarios as to why she would be alone without a mother to nurse her. Upon hearing that Primo had a chance, Kristin put the wheels in motion for possible transport to Wolf Hollow on San Juan Island. Kenmore Air donated a flight in order to help save her. The good news is that Primo now has a fighting chance to survive.

Please donate generously to PAWS and Wolf Hollow. They are the only rehab facilities in the entire state of Washington for seal pups. They are privately funded and the cost of rehabbing a seal pup is extraordinary. Our deepest thanks to Kenmore Air for making sure Primo made the 12:30 flight.

As always, Seal Sitters is so incredibly grateful to our support team of Kristin and Dyanna who always go the extra mile for us. Thanks to our many dedicated volunteers and to the very concerned and caring public who watched over Primo the past few days. Please keep an eye on the blog where we will post updates on her condition. And keep Primo in your thoughts as she is not out of the woods and the next hours are critical.

Primo wins friends on Alki

Primo hauled out on the sandy beach around 1 pm this afternoon and stayed til late tonight. He was looking thinner today and a bit less active, however, he was aware of the crowd of people who were enthralled with his tiny presence. Volunteers informed many people about seal pups and their need to rest. They learned that it is an especially critical period as they go through the weaning process. Pups burn through the fat store that sustains them during this transition from nursing to foraging on their own.

Children and adults alike were fascinated by this adorable pup. Shown at left are four of the five young people who defended a seal in trouble last year. And now, they are our newest Seal Sitters!

Pup shows up again on Alki Beach

Our beautiful little pup Primo showed up again this morning on a private stretch of Alki Beach. He was very alert and a concerned group of homeowners was keeping a collective eye on him. That’s poop on his side, which is a good thing - it means he did have something to eat! Thankfully, it was a drizzly morning and very few people were strolling the beach, although there were five dogs off leash. Please remember that it is the law that all dogs must be on a leash. Every year dogs maul seal pups - much to the horror of the dog owner.

Primo decided it was time to head back to the water and made the long crawl closer to the water’s edge. There he rested for about an hour before swimming off around 11:30 am. He will most likely surface later today as he is terribly thin and needs lots of rest. Check back for a video clip of Primo.

UPDATE 9:54pm
Primo resurfaced mid-afternoon at the north end of Alki Beach where he stayed late into the evening. As the sun came out, more and more people strolled the sidewalk and gathered above him. Unfortunately, all of the activity scared him back into the water around 4pm, but he returned to the same spot a bit later. When Seal Sitters taped off the area above him, people were very respectful of his need to snooze and stayed back a safe distance. Primo’s an alert and active pup which is a very good sign considering how thin he is. He will probably haul out again tomorrow.
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