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Winter cold brings seal flurries to Elliott Bay

Yesterday, our first responder found a seal pup sleeping on a beach notorious for off leash dogs. She immediately “sealed” off the beach with Protected Marine Mammal tape and notified the Port of Seattle Police that we had closed the small beach to public access. Volunteers were lined up to look after the pup until dark last evening. The pup was undoubtedly exhausted from the high winds and surf the night before and sought refuge on shore. He had apparently come in at very high tide and was on the beach near the fence.

There was a flurry of seal activity around Jack Block Park all day, just as there has been over the past couple of weeks. At one point yesterday, we had 4 seals on shore, including the adult and pup shown above (who were inaccessible to people). Even though those seals on the rocks were safe from people and dogs, they were still close enough that the public could disrupt their rest. It is doubtful that the adult is the mother of the pup, as pups are weaned at 4-6 weeks old and are then on their own with no support from mom. However, since pupping season in the Hood Canal runs as late as October, there is an outside chance that a pup could still be hanging out with mom in mid-December. More likely, there is a bounty of food right now in Elliott Bay which is attracting both pups and adults to forage and then share the shore to rest and warm up.

The tiny seal pup on the open beach, nicknamed Sugarplum (photo right), returned to the water sometime during the night. Please call the Seal Sitters hotline @ 206-905-7325 (SEAL) if you see a seal on shore. Keep dogs leashed at all times and off the beach. Seal Sitters MMSN thanks the Port of Seattle and Port Police for their help in protecting marine mammals. Thanks to all our dedicated volunteers who froze their flippers off yesterday watching over the seals!

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