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Beaver creates a stir onshore

A beaver was onshore at Jack Block Park yesterday, creating a bit of a stir as concerned onlookers worried that he might be injured. Beavers are not marine mammals and therefore do not fall under the jurisdiction of NOAA and the marine mammal stranding network. Beavers and river otters are under the jurisdiction of WA Department of Fish and Wildlife. However, Seal Sitters was on the scene and observed the animal for some time and did not see any unusual behavior. It was low tide and the beaver appeared to searching the rocks for food, ambling about with the characteristic flat tail. The police officer on the scene had called Sarvey Wildlife before our volunteers arrived. Sarvey, however, determined as well from the officer’s description of the animal’s behavior that it appeared to be in no distress and did not make the long drive from the Everett area. There have been rumors since then of the reappearance of the beaver, however, there are also river otters who often frequent this beach. Beavers do make their homes in rivers and estuaries and are an essential player in our woodland ecosystem. Two years ago, a beaver was found dead on the sandy stretch of Alki Beach. Should you spot any mammal (or sea bird) in distress on the beach, please call us and we will contact the appropriate agencies.

Marine Mammal Mania a whole lotta fun

Seal Sitters’ volunteers have been participating in the Seattle Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Mania event the past two weekends. We’ve had the chance to chat with people from all over the country about seals and sea lions’ need to use the shoreline to rest and warm up. And also the important role that the NW Marine Mammal Stranding Network plays in keeping our marine mammals safe and obtaining valuable scientific data for study.

This lively event has educational talks throughout the weekends. WDFW’s Dyanna Lambourn discussed how blood and blubber samples are taken from pinnipeds to monitor the health of the population. Yesterday there was a fun orca “parachute” game, a diver in the main tank talking about various fish species and many other engaging and informational opportunities. The event is also happening this Friday - Sunday (April 22-24) so make sure you check it out. Thanks to our dedicated volunteers (shown here is Julia) for putting in long hours working the table which has a harbor seal pelt, sea lion skull and complete harbor seal skeleton (courtesy of the Aquarium). If you’re a volunteer and have some time available to pitch in this weekend, please email us - we could use some extra help. And many thanks to artist Uko Gorter for the glorious illustration on our new outreach banner!

Seal pups are tv stars - public service announcement airs

Our seal pups Queen Latifah, ET and Pebbles are now starring in Seal Sitters’ newly released PSA (public service announcement) which began airing on local tv stations this morning. KING 5 ran the PSA just before the Today Show - immense visibility for this very important message. Many, many thanks to KING 5! We are hoping that other stations in the area will begin broadcasting the :30 spot soon as well. This project was possible as a result of an in-kind grant awarded to Seal Sitters by the Neighborhood Matching Fund of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

Pupping season is just now beginning on the outer coast of Washington and Oregon. As you may know, last year there was a high visibility case of a couple who illegally removed a seal pup from the beach and took the pup back to their hotel. Thankfully, after the pup spent the night on the floor, they called authorities and the seal pup did survive after a long rehab at PAWS. There are many more human-involved incidents where the outcome is not such a happy one. The PSA stresses that it is normal for pups to be alone on the beach and to call the NW Stranding Network. This educational message will help keep both marine mammals and the public safe.

Huge thanks to Melinda Simon and John Larson of Gypsy Soul Productions for donating many hours to produce this professional message! Thanks also go to actress Tracey Conway (for her perfect voiceover) and sound engineer Jason Devore and Victory Studios - all who donated time and expertise to this project. Video footage by Robin Lindsey.

Marine Mammal Mania at Seattle Aquarium

Seal Sitters’ volunteers are participating in the Seattle Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Mania event taking place this weekend and the weekends of April 15-17 and 22-24. It’s a tremendously fun and informative event with specials talks and “weigh ins” of marine mammals. If you go, make sure you stop by our table to see a harbor seal skeleton and touch a lush seal pelt. We hope to see you there!

Alert yearling frequents Lincoln Park

Yesterday, Seal Sitters received numerous calls to our hotline about a pup at Lincoln Park. Our responder found a very alert and seemingly healthy young seal resting on the beach. While technically young enough to be called a pup (and this one was pretty small, but had good body weight), this time of year NOAA prefers we call last season’s pups yearlings. This is to avoid confusion now that pupping season is about to begin on the outer coast - and new pups will be born before last year’s pups are truly one year old. There was a bit of blood and irritation around the navel, but no significant health issues we could see. This little one was nicknamed “Chiquita” because he/she loved stretching in the typical banana pose to regulate body temperature. Our volunteers did tough duty in the pouring rain and wind and chose not to tape off the deserted beach, possibly scaring Chiquita back into the water. Apparently, Chiquita has been frequenting this beach so, if you spot this youngster, please give our hotline a call.
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