Cavalcade of Cute on the Coast: Baby Seals on Oregon Beaches
All photos Seaside Aquarium
(Seaside, Oregon) – The north Oregon coast was the recipient of a few adorable moments this past week, heralding the season of baby seals for these beaches. Two newborn seals were found in recent days, and a third very young seal had to be rescued from an unusual situation.
Crews from Seaside Aquarium – part of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network – responded to these calls this week. They make sure no one disturbs the little ones while resting on the beaches.
Tiffany Boothe, with the aquarium, said seal pup season is officially underway on the northern Oregon coast. She snapped pictures of one in the Barview area, and another was found this week at Nedonna Beach in Rockaway Beach.
“It’s that season again and seal pups seem to be popping up everywhere,” Boothe said. “This little pup was resting at the Barview Jetty. The Seaside Aquarium would like to remind people to give these pups some space and rest. These pups often look abandoned but their mothers are usually not too far off. If you see a seal pup you are encouraged to call the Seaside Aquarium at (503)738-6211.”
Aquarium manager Keith Chandler said both these two baby seals were newborns, with umbilical cords still attached.
“They had been born just a few days ago,” Chandler said. “After a couple days, they disappeared and went back to mom – and to where people aren't.”
This weekend saw an extremely rare seal rescue for the aquarium staff. In spite of the usual advice to leave alone any sea creature that's stranded on the beach, Chandler and Boothe had to rescue a young fur seal in Manzanita on Friday that had become dangerously entangled in a rope.
About 9 a.m., crews responded to the call on Manzanita's beach, near Nehalem Bay State Park. The two had to hold the little guy down and cut the rope off him, and then he swam away.
Chandler said the fur seal was about a year old, which would make it a pre-teen in human years. It was quite lively, he said, so it hadn't been entangled long. However, he was visibly distressed by having humans hold him down while they freed him.
“He wasn't very happy about it, but then again he wasn't having a good day to begin with,” Chandler said. “Here were these two, creepy tall things holding him and standing over him. But when he scampered away into the surf, he rolled over and lifted up a flipper. I don't know if that was giving us the thumbs up – or some other digit.”
Fur seals aren't seen very often on the Oregon coast – perhaps ten a year.
Chandler said this entanglement episode was extremely rare. He had never seen this situation himself with a seal in the 30 or so years he's been working in this business.
Keywords: baby seals, harbor seals, nature, Pacific City, Cannon Beach, Yachats, Depoe Bay, Newport, Lincoln City, Oceanside, Astoria, Oregon coast, science.
Below: rescue successful.
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