Harbor Seal Pups...enjoy from a distance!
These warm, late summer days beckon us to the beach to enjoy the sun, the surf, and the abundant marine life. it is also very inviting to harbor seal pups! They come up on the beach to enjoy the warmth of the sun while Mama seal hunts for food offshore. This Harbor seal pup was basking in the afternoon sun while I was out with my nature kids’ school! Remember this is common behavior for the pups while Mama is out feeding and do not disturb or approach the youngsters. A cardinal rule in wildlife observation is: if your animal of interest alters its behavior in response to your proximity, then you are too close! Unfortunately, some people venture right up to seal pups to get that perfect close-up photo, view admiringly, or even touch the animal! Others, out of genuine concern, conclude that the pup is injured, ill, and needs intervention. In the vast majority of cases, this is an erroneous conclusion and the pup is just chillin' on the beach while the mother is feeding. Most mother seals will poke their heads out of the water periodically to check on their youngster and more sensitive individuals may interpret humans in close proximity as predators about to claim a meal. Concluding that the pup is lost to this predation, the mother will abandon the pup and leave the area...thus leaving it defenseless against true predators. So, appreciate and admire...but from a respectable distance...I recommend at least 100 feet away. We can easily enjoy our wildlife AND keep them safe! This pup soon returned to Sound with the incoming tide...and my students and I had a memorable experience! Get outside, and stay curious!
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