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Busy week for seal pups and new volunteers

This has been a crazy week for weaned seal pups on the beaches of West Seattle. Thankfully, we have a number of very enthusiastic new volunteers anxious to get out there and help them get the rest they need. On Monday morning, the hotline got a tip that there was a pup at Cove #3, just north of the water taxi pier. He was close to the tide line, enjoying a bit of sunshine which has been rare these days. Volunteers talked to the public about this alert and seemingly healthy pup, dubbed Primavera (since it was the first day of spring) by new volunteer Lynn. Unfortunately, a research boat motored into the cove to gather up a scientific sample and the pup was scared back into the water. The pup, however, did at least manage to get a few hours of rest.

On Tuesday, we received a call about a pup at Jack Block Park. Our responder found the pup on the small protected beach, where he rested until dark. The pup returned to the beach on Wednesday and, due to his close proximity to the overhead sidewalk, we established a small perimeter to keep people from standing and talking directly above him. 10-year-old Casey, a brand new volunteer doing a shift with her mom, named the pup Weasley (photo above). This was Casey’s first day on the job and she was filled with excitement. We asked Casey her thoughts on seal sitting: “I wanted to be a seal sitter because I just love animals and because I want to help them in the world. I think all animals are amazing and seals are super cool and adorable too!” Well, we think Casey is super cool and adorable, too!

Today, two pups found sanctuary on our shores. The first one popped up around noon north of Constellation Park. The pup was very difficult to spot on the rocky beach in contrasty light (photo left). On this gorgeous day, there were many people out strolling along the sea wall who came down onto the beach to watch him stretch and catch some zzzz’s in the balmy sun. Since the tide was out and there was public beach access, our volunteers kept watch over the pup until late in the afternoon when high tide forced the pup to move. The pup, dubbed Cassi (after the constellation Cassiopeia), wasn’t quite ready to return to the Sound for dinner and chose a spot only about 20 yards away on the public beach. Volunteers kept vigil until dark.

Our second pup of the day hauled out south of the Fauntleroy ferry. A mom walking the beach with her two small children noticed the pup resting in the shadows underneath a dock. He was alert with decent body weight for a wild weaned pup. Volunteers taped off a section of beach so that he could try to get some rest. This particular beach has issues with off leash dogs and our volunteers diverted two dogs in the time that we were there. The dog owners were extremely cooperative once they realized there was a seal pup on the beach. This little seal, nicknamed Shadow (photo below), was finally able to relax and settle in for a nap as the sun began to sink over the Olympics. It doesn’t get much better than protecting a vulnerable pup while ferries glide back and forth on cobalt waters - a simply stunning day.

Seal Sitters would like to extend special thanks to the waterfront homeowners who continue to call our hotline with reports of marine mammals on their property - especially those with public access at lower tides. We always try our best to keep a low profile in efforts to keep disruption to the homeowner to a minimum, while ensuring that seal pups can be safe on the beach. Being able to monitor and identify pups helps us with health assessments and provides data on the health of Puget Sound as a whole.

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