180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita,
Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City,
Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.
Cuddly Baby Seals Cause a Raucous on Oregon
|Baby seal, a bit over a foot long
Photos by Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium
(Seaside, Oregon) – Just a couple days after a somewhat
rare elephant seal find on Oregon’s north coast, two newborn seals
caused a stir and further illustrated the necessity for humans to leave
them alone. Both were apparently newborn seals with their umbilical chords
still attached, and both were handled by humans – when they should
not have been.
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Early Friday, a baby seal washed up in Astoria, somewhere
on the waterfront. The Seaside
Aquarium received several calls about it just before 9 a.m. They were
already in the middle of responding to another newborn seal pup that had
wandered up at Cannon Beach the night before, and had been seen on another
beach just south of there before 9 a.m.
By late morning, Astoria Police briefly detained an individual
who had picked up the baby seal from the waterfront and was walking around
town with it. They took the seal from the man and immediately called the
Seaside Aquarium for instructions on what to do.
The aquarium’s Tiffany Boothe said the police department
was told to put it back on the waterfront. Police officers weren’t
sure about the exact location where the man got the seal from in the first
place, but placed it in a spot they estimated was at least close.
is a perfect example of why beachgoers should not pick up seal pups –
besides the fact it’s against the law.
The baby seal that wandered up to Cannon Beach - about
a foot long - brought up that point again rather poignantly. By Friday
morning, it was resting at Arcadia Beach, a few miles south of town. There,
beachgoers repeatedly picked it up and tried to place it back in the surf,
Boothe said. This could’ve caused the pup serious harm, if it somehow
spooked the mother or otherwise caused the seal to get lost from her.
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“Mammal researches have found that most pups reunite
with their mothers after appearing to be ‘abandoned’ for many
hours,” Boothe said. “Well-meaning people who remove seal
pups from beaches are eliminating the possibility of the pup being reunited
with their mother. These people are also violating the Marine Mammal Protection
Act (MMPA) and they may face criminal and or civil penalties.
best thing for you to do is to keep well away from this seal pup thereby
reducing stress on the pup and/or alarming its mother.”
Boothe said the seal pup obviously wanted to be on the
sand. When he was placed in the water, he seemed uncomfortable with the
waves and visibly did not want to be there.
Aquarium crewmembers posted a sign by the seal, telling
the public to keep away.
Boothe said the pup seemed very energetic during its romp
around Arcadia Beach, so she believed it must have gotten some nourishment
from its mother in the middle of the night, somewhere between its initial
appearance in Cannon Beach and in Arcadia Beach.
“I saw it climbing around rocks and moving around
a lot,” Boothe said. “And it was very vocal.”
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Besides the umbilical chord, Boothe noticed something else
a little unusual about this newborn’s fur which led her to believe
it might’ve been born a bit premature.
how white the fur is on the seal’s body,” she said. “That’s
the coast they normally shed while still inside the mother’s womb.
We think it was a day old, maybe even just hours old.
“After he sheds that coat, his fur will be silver
grey and have spots.”
By 1 p.m., the seal had disappeared from the beach. Within
an hour, it was back, according to witnesses who called into the aquarium.
was really cute,” Boothe said. “I’ll admit that. I almost
don’t blame people for wanting to pick it up. But you don’t
Boothe said seal pups are often found resting on shore
while their mothers are hunting for food nearby. This is a normal occurrence.
The condition and location of this pup has been reported to the Marine
Mammal Stranding Network.
“Another problem is that pups or other marine mammals
found alive or dead on the beach may pose a potential health risk,”
Booth said. “Untrained people coming into contact with these marine
mammals risk exposing themselves, domestic animals and marine mammals
to various types of diseases.”
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another deceased seal washed up in Cannon Beach on Friday morning, which
officials had to briefly deal with. Boothe said someone from the aquarium
went out there, figured out the exact location by GPS, determined its
condition and made notes, and then left it to the city of Cannon Beach
to later bury it.
not approach, touch or disturb this seal pup or any other marine mammal
you may find on the shore. To report other incidents of marine mammal
standings on Oregon beaches call 1-800-452-7888 with the following information:
- Your name and a contact telephone number or address
- Accurate location of the mammal and the time that you
last observed the mammal in this location
- General condition of the animal: apparently healthy,
sick or injured, dead, etc.
The Marine mammal Protection Act (MMPA) makes it
illegal to harass, hunt, capture, collect, or kill any marine mammal.
Violations of the MMPA can result in civil penalties of up to $10,000
or criminal penalties of up to $20,000 or up to 1 year in federal prison.
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City Vacation Homes
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