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Fauntleroy ferry dock pup too weak to survive

Seal Sitters and the NOAA Hotline received numerous calls late yesterday morning from concerned folks waiting to board the ferry at the Fauntleroy dock. Our responder found an extremely thin pup at the tide line and established a substantial boundary with yellow tape so that he would not be scared back into the water. We are not sure how long the pup had been at this location, but it was obvious that he was in some serious trouble. Unfortunately, it is a sad fact that every pup in need cannot be rescued from the beach and taken for treatment due to limited treatment resources - PAWS can only accommodate ten pups at a time and the rehab is quite lengthy. In dire emergencies, a pup can be flown to Wolf Hollow Wildlife Center in the San Juans courtesy of Kenmore Air. That trip, however, is extremely stressful for any wild animal who already is in a tenuous battle to live. Whenever possible, stranding network volunteers monitor an animal for 24 hours in hopes they will return to the Sound to forage for food in an effort to survive. After observing this horribly thin pup, nicknamed Qakak by neighbors, Seal Sitters intervened mid-afternoon and rescued him from suffering on this beach frequented by people with off-leash dogs - always a danger to seal pups. The pup died en route to PAWS and will be necropsied by WDFW Marine Mammal Investigations’ biologist to determine cause of death.

Thanks to the kayakers who went well out of their way to launch further up the beach. They realized that a small inconvenience to humans can often be the difference between life and death to a resting baby animal. Many kudos to those caring adults and kids.

On a brighter note, Sandy, the small pup rescued from another West Seattle beach, is doing well at PAWS and could be our first success story of this season. Early in the past two seasons, we have had terribly small pups who have struggled with no mom around. It is a tough statistic that only 50% of pups make it to their first year and nature can be pretty harsh at times - all the more reason that they need to rest. Take heart that soon, we will have some fat little pups who have been successfully weaned in the rookeries visiting our beaches!
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