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Time Again for Baby Seal Warnings on Oregon Coast

Published 03/23/2019 at 3:53 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Time Again for Baby Seal Warnings on Oregon Coast

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(Oregon Coast) – Once again, it's that time of year on the Oregon coast: baby seal pups may start appearing on the beaches. Visitors are asked to reign in that instinct to help, as that is actually the last they need. (Baby seal photos courtesy Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium, unless otherwise noted).

Newport’s Oregon Coast Aquarium sent out a reminder to give them space – plenty of space.

Every spring, harbor seals give birth on secluded beaches or reefs along the Pacific coast. The pups are born ready to swim but cannot tread water for long; they need ample time on shore to rest and stay warm. Like any baby, these little guys need to sleep quite often. They can remain there for days while their mothers forage at sea.

Concerned human observers often report “abandoned” seal pups on the beach, not realizing that the mother might be foraging nearby, or swimming just offshore to maintain distance from curious humans and their dogs.

When humans approach or otherwise try to “help” in some way, they can actually cause the adorable seal pup harm, however inadvertently. If the mother sees humans nearby, it may deter her from returning to pick up the seal or to continue nursing it. While seal pups look vulnerable and easily tug at our heartstrings, we often jeopardize matters by trying to intervene.

If the seal pup is truly abandoned because of human contact it’s likely to die.

Oregon Coast Aquarium said harbor seals are wild animals that face many challenges to reaching maturity, and pup mortality is a natural check on robust seal populations in our region.

“In general, the Oregon Coast Aquarium is committed to the rescue and rehabilitation of indigenous wildlife when they are deemed injured by human interference,” it said. “But in the case of harbor seal pups, humans should not be approaching these animals in the first place, and the Aquarium advises the public to obey marine mammal protection laws and let nature take its course.”

According the aquarium’s Jim Burke, Director of Animal Husbandry, you should always call the Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network at 541-270-6830 if you see a pup.


Photo above courtesy Oregon Coast Aquarium

“Their staff can post signs near the seal to inform other beachgoers of the situation,” Burke said.

You can also call Oregon State Police at 1-800-452-7888.

Up on the north Oregon coast, you can call those same numbers or the Seaside Aquarium at 503-738-6211.

Seaside Aquarium manager Keith Chandler said they had not yet encountered any baby seals, and it’s still a bit early for that. However, these sightings will soon increase.

Stern warnings aside, finding a harbor seal pup on the beach can be an enchanting and poignant experience. To keep these creatures safe, watch with binoculars or take pictures from afar - let the seals take care of themselves. Oregon Coast Lodgings for this - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours









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