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Sea lion enjoys the winter sun

     
A sea lion was seen Friday and Saturday enjoying the warm sunshine on a West Seattle beach. The female California sea lion, using a fallen tree on the shoreline as a haulout, appears quite healthy and soaked up the sun for several hours. Females are not often seen in our area, as the majority of our CA sea lion population consists of juvenile and adult males who migrate north in search of food. Reports of a second “scarred” sea lion at the exact same location minutes later have not been substantiated. Upon examination of photos, WA Fish and Wildlife believes she is the same sea lion with a coat partially saturated from the water, giving the appearance of scarring and molting as the coat dries. Volunteers and Park staff are monitoring the location to make sure there is no human interference. It is not often that we are able to observe these magnificent animals hauled out on our urban beaches, so please keep your distance while they rest and warm up.

Elephant seal returns to Sound

According to WA Fish and Wildlife, the molting elephant seal who hauled out for almost a week on a Puget Sound beach has returned to the water.

Juvenile elephant seal hauls out in South Puget Sound

     
A juvenile northern elephant seal has been hauled out on a South Puget Sound beach since Tuesday, Jan. 13th. The yearling female is determined to be in good health, but going through the “molting” process which can cause alarm in onlookers. Most pinnipeds shed their hair gradually over an extended period of time, but elephant seals do it all at once over a period of weeks, a process that is quite uncomfortable for the animal. Read more about the molting process here. The seal is in a location which is highly accessible to the public. If there is sufficient human interference, Fish and Wildlife will be forced to relocate the seal to a quieter site, causing undue stress on the animal.

The largest of all pinnipeds, males can grow to over 4,000 lbs, with females being significantly smaller at 1,500 lbs. Their name derives from their large snout, resembling that of an elephant’s trunk, which is very pronounced on males. This yearling is estimated to weigh 300 lbs.
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Dead pup found on Lincoln Park beach

A dead, underweight seal pup was found late this afternoon on Lincoln Park beach yesterday near Coleman swimming pool. Seal Sitters responded to the caretaker’s call, examined and photographed the pup, and the photographs were sent to NOAA for documentation. A necropsy will be performed on the seal by Fish and Wildlife. The pup was in perfect condition with no obvious wounds.

After comparing markings, it is determined that the pup that died is not “Forte”, the January 10th Alki steps pup.

Forte's big day on the beach

On the full moon day of Saturday, January 10, 2009, a juvenile seal pup hauled out at high tide and climbed up the tall, concrete steps of the Alki boardwalk to take a nap right under a NOAA sign that asks people to stay a respectful distance away. One smart pup! All week we had fierce storms and flooding. This is the time we think and sometimes worry about the yearling pups who are encountering the first winter of their lives. And what a winter it has been - with three snow storms that have kept us all snowbound, followed by torrential windstorms and rains. No one has seen the likes of this kind of weather here - ever. And we are sure the seal pups are also having a tough time of it.
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