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Storm doing great in rehab

Seal pup, Storm, who was rescued from a Lincoln Park beach on Labor Day, is flourishingt at PAWS. She is now chasing and catching live fish in her large pool. So, the prognosis for a successful rehab and release is very good. Thanks to the dedicated staff at PAWS!

New pup at eastside cove

Seal Sitters’ dispatch received a call late this afternoon that Pebbles had returned to the water taxi cove. Upon response to the scene, however, it was a pup we have not seen before. The pup was plump and very alert. At first look, it appeared the pup might be Woody, but spot comparisons have determined that it is not.

The eastside seems to be the seal pup hotspot of late. We’ll keep you updated on this newest pup.

No Pebbles again today - confirmed to be weaned

Pebbles was nowhere to be seen again today. Pup were spotted swimming offshore, however, but there was no way to identify them because they were too far away. Pebbles has a very unique marking under his right nostril so if he were in close enough, we would be able to recognize him. After consultation with WDFW’s marine mammal research biologist, it has been confirmed that the pup is weaned. We had found a number of bones in his waste. Apparently, of all the many necropsies WDFW has performed on seal pups, no stomach contents have yet to consist of both food and mother’s milk at the same time. This leads to the conclusion that once a pup begins the weaning process, nursing is not continued by the mom. So, Pebbles is out there trying to make a living on his own now. Let’s hope he can master the art of fishing, continues to be a very healthy blubberball, and makes a reappearance on our beaches. In 2007, Spud hauled out for a number of days and then disappeared, but returned fat and happy two weeks later - much to the joy of our volunteers.

Added note: Our crack of dawn volunteers are happy to report that, while waiting patiently to see if Pebbles would haul out this morning, a very friendly fisherman thanked us, told us how much he supported our work and that he disapproved of the attitudes of some of his fishermen colleagues. That was a real boost to our spirits and made us smile in the drizzly darkness. We would like to add that there were many fishermen and pleasure boaters who gladly went a bit out of their way to accommodate Pebbles over the few days he was at the ramp - and we cannot thank them enough.

Where's Pebbles?

Pebbles was not sighted on shore today in West Seattle, ending his record-setting haul out streak at 15 days. Volunteers were at the boat ramp well before dawn, anticipating his appearance.

Throughout the day, Seal Sitters, like Anna and her daughter, ET, checked beaches and coves. Pebbles appears to have begun the weaning process, since fish bones were found in his waste. His success at foraging will determine his new patterns of resting behavior. Let’s hope that we see Pebbles again soon!

Day 15 - Pebbles rested, volunteers exhausted

Like clockwork, Pebbles hauled out before dawn this morning. Volunteers quickly taped off the boat ramp as an unaware boater almost backed his trailer over him. For the past 14 days, volunteers in shifts have spent 12+ hours protecting Pebbles alone. Today, day 15, Pebbles must have decided we needed a break since he went back into the water about 1:30 pm, just in time to avoid a rush of fishermen returning from a day of fishing and pleasure boaters heading out for an afternoon sail on a gorgeous fall day.

Pebbles’ schedule and habits have been changing a bit so he may be beginning the weaning process. This does not mean that his mom is still not nursing him, but he may now be foraging a bit on his own. It could be that hunger led him to return to the Bay earlier than usual.

Pebbles rested directly under the Marine Mammal Protection Act sign - one smart seal pup! The MMPA was written into law in 1972 to protect marine mammals from harassment and endangerment. NOAA recommends a distance of 100 yards from a marine mammal, but that is rarely possible in an urban setting. When Pebbles was hauling out at the cove near the Water Taxi, it was feasible to establish a rather large perimeter so that he might be undisturbed. When a pup hauls out in a situation such as the boat ramp or Alki Beach near a sea wall, however, it is much more of a challenge to protect the pups - yet still allow the public access to areas for work or play. Seal Sitters tries to find a reasonable balance so that all species can truly share the shore.

Another tense day at the boat ramp

Pebbles unknowingly created another stressful situation at the ramp today, hauling out as a number of boats were launching for a day of fishing. Had our volunteers not been present he could have easily been hurt or killed by a boat trailer. Thankfully, he hauled out at the same end ramp so that boats were still able to launch and retrieve without too much inconvenience.

Over the course of the day, Pebbles crawled up high onto the pavement to the edge of the blacktop parking lot. Apparently, any smooth stretch of “beach” looks appealing to an exhausted pup needing rest. The spot he chose created particular challenges for our volunteers since we could not close access for trucks and trailers to drive through the lot. The public benefit, however, was that people were able to be
much closer to a seal pup than is allowed by law - within a few feet. Pebbles drifted in a deep sleep, somewhat oblivious to all the attention surrounding him. Shown at right, our dedicated volunteers Eilene and David explain to a group of children why Pebbles is on shore.

Seal Sitters volunteers stood watch for over 13 hours today. One very kind fisherman, Alex, even offered us pizza at the end of the day. That was a tremendous boost for our very tired volunteers after three successive days of confrontations. Seal Sitters will continue to ensure the safety of any pup that chooses this location to rest.

Pebbles at ramp again today - with two small friends

Our volunteer was stunned to see not just Pebbles at the ramp early this morning, but two more pups as well. A fisherman’s off-leash dog and other disturbances scared the other two pups back into the water shortly after, however. Fortunately, Pebbles was snuggled against the rocks. Seal Sitters taped off the section of the boat ramp that directly impacted the pup. Fishermen were free to launch and retrieve their boats in all lanes except the far one (see photo). On this dreary day, only a handful of boats were launched. Once again, certain fishermen created drama over the presence of pups at the ramp, challenging our authority to enforce the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Seal Sitters would like to stress that the definition of harassment or “take” of a marine mammal does not just mean poking with sticks or other acts of violence. It means any alteration of the marine mammal’s behavior, such as causing them to return to the water not of their own accord.

Pebbles rested comfortably as volunteers kept watch in drizzle and downpour until he returned to the water about 5 pm. A second pup made two brief appearances and was one of the pups scared into the water early in the morning. Thanks to all of the volunteers who have put in two very stressful days. We all hope that these pups find a safer refuge soon.

Trouble at boat ramp for Pebbles

Pebbles hauled out for the 12th day today, but the pup made the unwise choice of hauling out at the boat ramp instead of the safety of his cove. Seal Sitters were concerned when Pebbles did not show up at the cove this morning, but expect that his patterns might change a bit as he starts the weaning process. He may choose other haulouts or haul out at different times. We received a call about 10 am that there was a pup on the boat ramp. Photo id comfirmed it was Pebbles.

Sadly, there were a few fishermen who were incensed when asked to use an alternative ramp to load and retrieve their boats so that Pebbles would not be scared into the water - and possibly separated from his mom. This, on a day with very little boat traffic. They harassed our volunteers with obscene gestures and ranting, obscenity-laced tirades. Our volunteers have spent many, many hours over the last weeks - in the sun, in the cold, in the rain - looking over the seal pups who have come ashore seeking safety. They do not deserve to be threatened by bullies who have no respect for wildlife. Photos of the boats and the liscense numbers of those fishermen have been turned in for complaint and the incident will be investigated by authorities.

Seal Sitters would like to thank the many understanding fishermen who cooperated today with our volunteers and Parks. Fortunately, they far outweigh the belligerent few. We appreciate that they were willing to take an extra fifteen minutes of their time to ensure that a vulnerable, nursing seal pup might survive. And obey a Federal mandate that marine mammals are protected from harassment.

After the many disruptions of boats coming and going, Pebbles finally returned to the Bay about 2:30. He was not seen elsewhere on shore.

Day 11 for Pebbles

Chubby Pebbles continues to call West Seattle his home, hauling out for the eleventh day in a row. Shortly after hauling out early this morning, he stretched and yawned and slept in the warm sun. One could even see the frothy nursing residue from his mother’s rich milk.

In this photo from today, Pebbles shows off the fan-like structure of his rear flippers which propel him through the water. True to form, he returned to Elliott Bay about 6:45 this evening. It will be interesting to see if Pebbles continues to haul out in this cove after he is weaned - after all, this beach is what he has come to know as his home.

Golden Gardens pup, Sparky, loses battle at PAWS

Seal Sitters learned this morning that Sparky (the female pup we helped rescue from a Ballard beach) died overnight at PAWS. Sparky had been struggling to survive. Please check back tomorrow for more details along with an update on the West Seattle pup, Storm (taken to PAWS on Labor Day). As of late last week, Storm was being fed solid food and had good body weight, but some health complications.

Ten days and Pebbles still going strong at haul out

One can pretty much set their clocks by Pebbles these last ten mornings since he hauls out at virtually the same time each day. Thankfully, today was uneventful for disturbances - either by dogs or by torrential downpours. Volunteers were relieved to experience a somewhat dry, albeit windy, day for a change. Pebbles returned to the water early evening and volunteers witnessed him swim out to a waiting adult. This is the second time that an adult has been offshore as the pup left the beach.

Carmen comes ashore but scared back in the Sound

Another seal pup came ashore near the lighthouse this afternoon to rest, but was scared back into the Sound. An unwitting person climbed over the rocks from the south to take a photo of the West Seattle landmark and the pup hustled into the waves. Our volunteers had taped off the north end of the beach, but the tide had closed off access from the south end. Minutes earlier, a family walking down from Alki Beach toward the seal was very respectful and interested to learn about pups on our beaches. The girls nicknamed this pup Carmen. Carmen had been onshore long enough to dry off, so had at least rested a bit.

Pebbles hauls out again - but this time with a close call

Pebbles continues his marathon haul out near the Water Taxi - the 9th day in a row now. However, volunteers had a scare today when an off leash dog ran onto the closed beach chasing a toy thrown by his owner. The north end of the cove was taped off and clearly marked “Protected Marine Mammal”. The dog ran down the beach on a path directly for Pebbles, but volunteer Maggie threw a body block at the large black dog. Eventually the dog was restrained and the owner removed him from the beach. Had the dog scared this nursing pup back into the water to be separated from the mom, Pebbles would die. Seal Sitters loves dogs, but we cannot say too many times that dogs are not allowed on Seattle beaches - dogs injure and kill seal pups every year. Thankfully, volunteers were on scene to prevent a possible tragedy.

Woody hauls out at north end

A brown pup with light spots hauled out yesterday late afternoon at a north end beach. Nicknamed Woody, this pup likes to haul out underneath a big log on the beach. Volunteers spotted his haul out tracks several days ago, but each time the pup had already returned to the water. A citizen found Woody on the beach about 4:30 pm, called Seal Sitters’ dispatch and volunteers taped off access to the area. Woody spent the night on the beach and looked weak this morning which had volunteers concerned, but finally made a slow trip back to the water around 10am.

Throughout the afternoon today, Seal Sitters followed Woody’s movements as he surfaced briefly on beaches from the north end to the south end of Alki Beach. Too many people on the beach prevented him from getting his rest and he kept returning to the water. However, an adult seal was seen about 20 yards off the beach just as he re-entered the water about 2 pm. The adult and pup were spotted together rounding the point by the lighthouse. Our volunteer followed them with binoculars as they made their way the length of Constellation Beach, the pup desperately trying to haul out. Finally, the pup came ashore amidst a number of people and boaters; but mom stayed nearby, her head popping up out of the waves periodically, as Woody was able to gain strength on shore. Seal Sitters taped off the beach. Thanks so much to the respectful people who moved away from Woody so the mother would not be scared away - and most especially to the “Disorganized Dive Club” who chose to relocate their dive to another beach so that Woody could get some rest! The pup returned to the Sound early evening. Seeing the mom and pup together swimming offshore, and her protective behavior, was a real treat and rarity.

Pebbles sets haul out record - 8 days straight

Pebbles has set a new haul out record for seal pups since Seal Sitters was founded in 2007, extending his streak to 8 consecutive days. Spud was the former record holder in ’07. Pebbles likes to haul out at sunrise and stay until early evening light. Of late, he like to nestle in the timber on the beach, making him quite difficult to see at times. But most of the time, he’s quite visible and has enchanted a fan club of all ages.

Pebbles still looks like a happy little blubberball. In this photo, he curls and stretches his rear flippers in a sign of relaxed contentment. As time goes by we have become convinced there’s most likely a mom in the picture - due to photos of erupted teeth, the pup’s small size (a juvenile sea gull is bigger than Pebbles), good body weight, and an eyewitness report of an adult just offshore when Pebbles returned to the water one evening. It is imperative that he be able to continue to use this beach as a safe refuge from people and dogs. Thanks to all the divers who were so considerate early this morning and changed locations so as not to jeopardize Pebbles’ health.

Seal Sitters' segment on Seattle Channel website

For those of you who missed the Seattle Channel’s featured segment about Seal Sitters, the “City Stream” episode is now posted on their website for viewing. The Seal Sitter segment begins about 6:25 minutes into the program, but please watch the entire episode of this well-produced show.

Pupdate: Storm and Sparky still holding their own at PAWS

Storm and Sparky are still struggling a bit at PAWS, but rehabbers are still guardedly optimistic about their chances. They are now in a large pool together (shown here resting on their “island”, Storm on the left and Sparky at right). Each pup has her own health issues and they both have battled diarrhea in an attempt to adjust to their new food source.

Storm has good body weight and is still feisty and alert. However, her blood numbers were quite high in some areas. An ultrasound was performed on her yesterday and it revealed that she has an inflamed gall bladder and possibly appendicitis or pancreatitis. The pup that was illegally removed from the outer coast beach, taken to a hotel and then eventually to PAWS also had an inflamed gall bladder. That pup was treated and successfully rehabbed and released this month. Rehabbers do not know what is the cause of the inflammation. Storm has been put on a series of medications to treat her ailments. She has gone from being tube fed a “herring/salmon shake” to solid food consisting of dead herring. Pups have to be force fed the herring until they eventually will chase and eat live fish that is put into their pool. It can be a tedious and lengthy process to get them oriented to feeding themselves.

Sparky has good blood levels, but just can’t seem to put on weight so there is some major concern there. She is still suffering from chronic diarrhea and remains on a fish-shake diet.

Pebbles going for 2010 haul out record

It’s no surprise that Pebbles hauled out yet again early this morning - six days in a row now. He seems to have found safe haven. Photos of Pebbles’ teeth as he yawned show that all have erupted, but some are quite tiny. This leads the WDFW biologist to believe that he (or she - you can’t tell the sex of a seal pup without a physical examination) is perhaps as young as 3 weeks old. We are not able to confirm whether Pebbles has been weaned early, but is foraging successfully or, if indeed, there is a mom out there who comes for him at the end of a very long day. Thankfully, the summer season and crowds have waned so as not to deter a returning mother. An unusual number of pups were born prematurely and abandoned or weaned too early this season. Biologists are trying to determine the reasons why. Whatever the circumstance with Pebbles, he is doing just great and returned to Elliott Bay around 3:30 as a heavy rain soaked volunteers. Thanks to Alki Kayak Tours for setting up a tent for us this afternoon!

Seal Sitters featured on Seattle Channel tomorrow, Sept 16

Seal Sitters will be featured on the Seattle Channel’s fall premiere night, Thursday, September 16, at 7 pm. The Seattle Channel is channel 21 on Comcast cable systems so check your local listings for the show “City Stream.” The segment, “Seattle Seal Sitters”, was produced by Emmy award-winning journalist, Penny LeGate, and videographer, Shannon Gee. This production team was present as Seal Sitters watched over both Primo and Spike over the course of two weeks. The segment will feature interviews with volunteers, the public and footage of the two seal pups who struggled to survive. We thank Penny and Shannon for their passionate commitment to helping educate the public about our beloved blubberballs.

Pebbles spends 5th day on the beach

Pebbles spent yet another day lounging on our shore. True to form, he hauls out early in the morning, rests all day and hauls back out early evening. Today he returned to the water about 5:30, as a heavy drizzle soaked our volunteers. He’s a regular celebrity in West Seattle and residents and commuters have been checking in on him each day. At left, Dan Campau of Seattle Parks Department helps establish a barricade early this morning.

Pebbles is still a chubby and alert little pup. Standing watch over a seal pup while the Seattle skyline looms before you, drives home the reality that our urban environment creates major challenges (and responsibilities) for the survival of these smallest of marine mammals. This is why it is so critical to share the shore with our wildlife.

Pebbles entertains onlookers

Yesterday, for the fourth day in a row, Pebbles rested on our West Seattle beach for a full 12 hours or more. He came in at high tide yesterday morning and stayed until early evening, much to the delight of onlookers, such as Eva and her daughter (shown at right). Dedicated SS volunteer, Betty, enjoys the young girl’s reaction to seeing Pebbles stretch in the September sun.

Our volunteers have put in many long hours looking over Pebbles, enjoying gorgeous weather and the beautiful scenery of the Seattle skyline and boat traffic as well. Alki Kayak Tours has been so accommodating in making sure that the pup remains undisturbed. They even launched their paddleboard race from the cove just south of the Water Taxi. Pebbles and Seal Sitters sends them huge thanks! It is good to know that Pebbles feels safe enough to continue to haul out daily and rest, under the protective watch of volunteers, business owners, and beach residents.

Pebbles digs West Seattle

Pebbles has been a regular now on the city-side beach for the past three days. Our volunteer spotted the soaking wet pup near some logs about 6:15 this morning, just after he hauled out. Shortly thereafter, Pebbles then crawled up a few feet more and nestled between two large logs on the beach, virtually invisible from the sidewalk nearby where people rushed to catch the Water Taxi. The fact that he could not be seen had a good and bad side. It was a good thing that crowds of people would not gather nearby to disturb his much-needed rest; but bad in the sense that anyone who walked the beach could not see him and would scare him back into the water. Later in the day, Pebbles ventured out from his hiding spot, moving closer to the water’s edge where he debated for several more hours whether to return to Elliott Bay.

Volunteers were lined up and worked in shifts from early morning til early evening to keep people from wandering onto the beach. Since summer is over and the beach was cloudy, crowd control was not an issue. Many thanks to Alki Kayaks for being so considerate and launching their boats from the opposite cove.

Pebbles spent over 12 hours resting on shore as volunteers, such as Penny (at right), watched patiently and talked with curious bystanders. It is encouraging for Seal Sitters to have such a healthy and alert little pup on our shores after watching over so many terribly thin ones.

Pebbles back on the beach and a "fun" day at Alki

Our seal pup, Pebbles, rested on a city-side beach again today. He is a relatively chubby (at least by weaned pup standards) little pup. He returned to the water around 3 pm.

In the meantime, Alki Community Council sponsored Alki Fun Day on the beach and Seal Sitters staffed a table at the event. Shown at left are volunteers Julie, Julia and Terri who, along with many others, spent time today talking to the public about seal pups. Thanks to everyone who volunteered, both seal sitting Pebbles and working the table. Special thanks to our tireless volunteer coordinators, Nancy and Jane, who put in many hours making sure Seal Sitters was represented today.

Storm and Sparky move to the outside pools at PAWS

Storm (West Seattle pup) and Sparky (Ballard pup) have each been moved to the outside pools at PAWS. The rehab staff there is “cautiously optimistic” about their chances. There is a bit of concern that the pups are not gaining weight, so they were being tube fed today. However, they are both alert and “feisty” and Storm is reportedly one bitey little girl. Once the pups have completed their quarantine they will be put in the same pool - let’s hope they will soon be doing the backstroke together!

Pup season is in full swing on the beaches

Pup season is formally in full swing on the beaches of West Seattle. Yesterday a pup with good body weight hauled out onto the rocks at high tide on the Elliott Bay side. The public was concerned for his safety, but it is not unusual for a seal to seem marooned when indeed they will generally return to the water when the tide returns. The pup had a little discharge from the eyes and some small cuts on the rear flippers. The pup (at left), nicknamed Rocky by a volunteer, returned to the water early evening.

Another pup hauled out this morning on an Elliott Bay beach. Tucked up against the sea wall, he was largely unnoticed as the partly sunny day drew walkers along Harbor Avenue. This pup also had good body weight with no noticeable wounds. He was quite alert and returned to the water as the tide crept closer about 4:45 this afternoon. Thanks to all the kayakers and scuba divers for being so respectful and keeping their distance. This pup, nicknamed Pebbles for his camouflage coat that matched the beach rocks, had a nice long rest on our shore as volunteers kept a collective eye on him.

Pupdate: seal pup Storm wins first round at PAWS

We received a “pupdate” on Storm, our little pup that was taken to PAWS yesterday afternoon. According to PAWS, Storm is a feisty female - just like the team of women she is named after! She gained quite a bit of weight overnight, but most of that is from being hydrated with fluids and she now weighs 18.7 lbs. Additionally, Storm has quite a few wounds on her, but the good news is none are infected. The most serious wound is a pretty severe one to her right rear flipper. She is being given a round of antibiotics and nutritional support. She is not out of danger, but Seal Sitters volunteers are greatly encouraged.

If Storm doesn’t show signs of the highly contagious disease Brucella, she will be able join the female pup, Sparky, that Seal Sitters helped rescue on Saturday morning. The two pups will go through their rehab together. Many, many thanks to PAWS as always for their incredible work! Please make a donation to PAWS designated to defray the extreme costs of rehabbing seals. Stay tuned for more pupdates on these two gorgeous pups.

9/8/10 7:35
Both Storm and Sparky are alert and feisty this morning, but are battling a bit of diarrhea. Rehabilitators are giving them subcutaneous fluids to keep them hydrated while they adjust to their new food.

Labor Day no picnic for Seal Sitters - 2 pups at Lincoln Park

Seal Sitters volunteers were kept busy today watching over two seal pups at Lincoln Park. Storm was still on the beach early this morning and a second pup hauled out mid-afternoon. Storm looked even more thin today, was less alert and had some discharge around the eyes. Seal Sitters received authority this afternoon to take the pup to PAWS for evaluation. We will keep you posted with updates regarding Storm.

The second pup flop-hopped high up onto the beach by Colman Pool, undaunted by quite a number of fishermen onshore. He appears to be weaned. While he looks stronger than Storm, the very alert pup is still thin and had some blood around the umbilicus. It is always a concern when the umbilicus area does not close up and heal because it can be a source of dangerous infection. This pup was nicknamed Swimmy (shown at left). Swimmy has very distinct and beautiful markings which will make him easy to identify should he choose other West Seattle locations to rest.

Both pups presented quite a challenge for volunteers since each pup was very close to the sea wall and walkway. It is important to keep observers at a respectable distance so that the pups can rest. Standing above a pup as close as ten feet away causes undue stress for the animal. Additionally, if by chance there is a mom around, too many people hovering around a pup can cause the pup to be abandoned. Thanks to the many volunteers who spent their holiday looking after the pups and those who did public outreach on Alki.

See related media stories about Storm:
KOMO-tv , Rescuers aiding malnourished seal.

Seal Sitters thanks the West Seattle blog for their on-going support of our work on the beach. Read the WS Blog story about Storm, Seal Sitters guarding pup at Lincoln Park.

Necropsy findings on Spike

We have received the initial necropsy findings from the WDFW Marine Mammal Investigations biologist. Spike weighed only 7 kg (15.4 lbs) - less than a normal birth weight for a pup. However, he did have some squid beaks left in his stomach, so he was trying his best to forage and survive. There were no parasites present and his umbilicus opening had healed. Spike was definitely a weaned pup, but we have no idea if he was weaned a bit too early due to an inexperienced mom, disturbance from humans or dogs, or if he just simply was not able to adapt on his own.

Small pup sunbathes at Lincoln Park

A small and very thin pup enjoyed the warm afternoon sun at Lincoln Park today. Seal Sitters dispatch received a call about 3 this afternoon from an alert volunteer who was at the park. By the time our responder arrived, she had already taped off the beach to discourage the gathering crowd from creating too much disturbance around the pup. The pup was very alert and aware of the enthusiastic and concerned onlookers. As the afternoon wore on and the beach became quieter, the pup was able to get some rest. Other than being terribly thin, there appeared to be only some minor cuts. All of the pup’s teeth have erupted, but some are quite small. Once again, it appears we have a pup that is on his own and struggling.

Our first responder, Robin, thanks all the seal pups for staying in the water today until after the Seattle Storm won their WNBA playoff game, advancing to the championship. So, this little pup has been dubbed Storm - in hopes he shows the same fight as our team does. Volunteers watched over him til late last night. We will be keeping an eye on Storm and will keep you updated.

Update 9/6/10. Storm was taken to PAWS late this afternoon.

Golden Gardens pup taken to PAWS

Seal Sitters teamed up with volunteers from the Sno-King Marine Mammal Stranding Network to remove the Golden Gardens seal pup from the beach. The pup had been monitored on the Ballard beach since Thursday and was driven to PAWS for evaluation. After an initial evaluation, PAWS reports that the pup is a weaned female, very emaciated and dehydrated. Seals obtain their water intake from the food they eat and do not drink water. The pup, nicknamed Sparky, also has a number of infected lesions on her underside and flippers as well as an umbilicus infection. She is being stabilized, hydrated and treated for her infections. Seal Sitters will provide updates on the health of Sparky.

This morning Seal Sitters received a report that a group of people had been seen kicking sand on this pup around 8pm last night. If you see a marine mammal being harrassed or injured it is a matter for law enforcement. Call the NOAA Enforcement Hotline @ 1-800-853-1964 (monitored 24 hrs a day) and tell them an animal is being harmed. If the animal or the public is in imminent danger, CALL 911. NOAA Enforcement is not an immediate response team, as there are limited officers in the Pacific Northwest. However, the line is answered 24 hours a day and a harassment should be reported to them immediately. They are an investigative unit and will fine and prosecute violators of the Marine Mammal Protection Act with the proper evidence: violator’s name, photo, or auto license plate number. Do not put yourself at risk to obtain this information. If you need a law enforcement presence because the public or animal is in imminent danger, call 911.

Update 9/5/10. Sparky is doing fine at PAWS today, so keep her in your thoughts.
Update 9/6/10.
PAWS has provided photos of Sparky who continues to improve.

No holiday for seal pups on Alki - pup forced back into water

Early yesterday evening, a thin seal pup was harassed by people with cell phone cameras, poked with a stick and driven from the beach, back into the waters off Alki Beach. An alert and concerned citizen warned them to stay back, informing them that seal pups are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Harassment of any marine mammal is a Federal crime, punishable by a substantial fine and possible jail time.

Alki Beach today was packed with sunbathers and others enjoying frisbee and volleyball (photo above). Please remember to share the shore with seal pups, as they desperately need safe places to haul out. This is the second incident of pups being scared back into the water within the past week. If you spot a pup, please call our dispatch line immediately. This stretch of Alki is a favorite area for pups to rest and they need protection.

Tough start to our pupping season - Spike doesn't make it

Spike, the tiny and thin pup who entertained and educated many people during his brief time on West Seattle beaches, has been found dead. His body was found by an Alki resident early this morning high on the beach amid debris near the lighthouse. A Seal Sitters volunteer responded to the beach, recovered the body and delivered him to WDFW’s marine mammal research biologist. A necropsy will be performed on Spike, who was confirmed to be male.

Spike was not seen anywhere on the beaches yesterday, but it could be that the high wind and waves from late yesterday afternoon were just too much for this small, weakened pup. We will keep you posted with updates as we receive the medical findings.
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