Saturday 3:30 p.m.: A baby seal that was left by its mom at Golden Gardens is under the care of PAWS after two days on the beach. “We think she is about 3 weeks old,” said Cindy Kirkendall at the PAWS Wildlife Center. “She’s emaciated. She’s very dehydrated. And she has wounds on her flippers.”
“It is normal for the mother to ‘strand’ her pup while she goes out to eat for the day,” explained Marilyn, a volunteer with the Marine Mammal Stranding Network that evaluated the harbor seal at Golden Gardens. “Normally, she will come back to nurse and take the pup with her. However, if there are too many boats, people, activities she may feel too threatened and not return to the pup.” She said volunteers nicknamed the pup, “Sparky.”
After two days on the beach in poor health, Marilyn said the decision was made to take the pup to PAWS. “Hopefully it will survive,” she said. PAWS said it’s too early to offer a prognosis. “We just have to wait and see what happens,” says Cindy. “She’s alert, you know, she’s kind of feisty, so that’s kind of a good sign.”
A section of the beach was cordoned off to keep beachgoers away from the seal. “I would like to thank the Parks department for their help in ‘seal sitting’ in the evening and into the night for the past two evenings,” Marilyn said. “Also a big thanks to the public for respecting the boundary around the pup.”
Adds Amy in comments below, “People were being extremely respectful. A few times, as the tide caught up to the pup a big crowd would gather and were treated to seeing the wee pup scoot up the beach. The pup also shuffled down to the water and then back up the beach a few times.”
Marilyn said the Marine Mammal Stranding Network has received many calls all over the Puget sound this year and expect it to continue to be a busy seal pup season. We’ll keep you updated on Sparky.
(Thanks Marilyn and Amy for the photos!)