Crew Finds Molting Seal, Distressed Beaver on North Oregon Coast
Photos Courtesy Seaside Aquarium
(Astoria, Oregon) – A bit of an unusual find was in store for members of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network last week when they came out to the south jetty of the Columbia River to attend to a molting northern elephant seal. A beaver that had been beaten up by the tides and rough surf also became part of the agenda for the crew from the Seaside Aquarium.
Keith Chandler, manager of Seaside Aquarium, said the beaver was on the riverside portion of the beaches at Fort Stevens State Park and the molting seal was at the jetty.
The beaver was covered in sand and obviously in some distress. He was tired and beaten up, and Chandler referred to him as a “disgruntled beaver.”
“He'd gotten washed down the river and was not doing well,” Chandler said. “He'd been pretty beaten up by the elements.”
The beaver had considerable trouble moving – or it was simply unwilling to do so – so Chandler had to pick him up and put him into the carrier box. They took the beaver to the Wildlife Center of the North Coast for rest and eventual release back into the wild.
The elephant seal was in the middle of the painful molting process. Seaside Aquarium responded to that incident as part of their regular duties with the Marine Mammal Stranding Network along the north Oregon coast, setting up signs to tell people to stay away.
“The yearlings have started to molt - a process where the seal sheds its old layer of fur and grows a new one,” said Tiffany Boothe of the Aquarium. “This is the third molting elephant seal we have seen in our area recently.”
Boothe said this process can be strenuous and certainly no fun for the seal.
“They will often haul out of the water for long periods of time while they are molting,” she said. “Being out of the water raises their body temperature and helps expedite the molt. They often have labored breathing and even sores where the patches of fur are missing, but they are okay. It is a natural process they must go through.”
The seal was gone by the next day, having ran back out to sea.
More photos of Fort Stevens State Park in Warrenton:
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