One of our readers, Molly Duff, saw a baby seal on one of Ballard’s beaches. She sent us these photos that she took before the seal swam away. This is the time of year when seal pups are sighted often along our shores, and a good time to remember what to do when a seal is spotted. If you see a lone pup or a stranded seal on the beach, call a local group called Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network at 206-905-SEAL (7325). They will send a designated “sitter” to set up a perimeter around the seal until the seal returns to the water or is rescued. After calling Seal Sitters, leave the seal alone and keep dogs leashed. Seals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and touching a seal is a violation. NOAA recommends a 100 yard distance.
Seal pups often come to shore in order to get rest and warm up, sometimes beached for hours before their mothers return, according to Seal Sitters. The group says the pups are extremely vulnerable during this time, and that only 50 percent of harbor seals survive their first year.