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Weaned pup loses struggle for survival

     
On Friday, our team of trained volunteers rescued a struggling seal pup from the beach (under the authority of Seal Sitters’ stranding agreement with NOAA) and drove him to PAWS for stabilization and treatment. The pup had been observed by the network over the past week and had been moving successfully to various West Seattle locations; however, the pup went into a dramatic decline over the previous couple of days. On Thursday, plans were set into motion to intervene if he spent the night on the beach frequented by off leash dogs. With limited rehab options and the inherent stress on a captured pup, intervention is always a complicated decision and one which is weighed heavily. As long as a pup is coming and going from the beach, it is evidence that he has the strength and will to try to forage for food. The pup was still on the beach early Friday morning and the rescue was implemented.

Sadly, the pup died overnight at PAWS. The male pup weighed a woeful 11.3 kg; healthy body weight for a pup in the wild at 6 or 7 months old should be upwards of 28-30 kg. It is suspected that he suffered from a parasite load (most likely lungworm), a common and serious health issue faced by weaned pups.

This pup’s death only reinforces the urgent need for all seal pups to be able to get the rest they require for survival. A pup who looks relatively plump one day, can be on death’s door only a few days later as parasites and viruses fight for control. As we have reminded folks time and again, a pup only has a 50% chance of survival the first year. On our West Seattle beaches, with informed and protective citizens, we offer these vulnerable pups a better chance by giving them a safe and quiet space. We can honor this beautiful pup by continuing to do so. You can help - please plan to attend our March 3rd training.

PUPDATE: We continue to have pups using the beaches and offshore platforms in West Seattle. Yesterday, a pup (or two - photos are being examined for id purposes) came ashore twice at Lincoln Park. This continues to be a dangerous location for pups due to issues with off leash dogs. Heads up and call the hotline @ 206-905-7325 (SEAL) if you spot a pup!
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