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Adult harbor seal rescued, but dies ~ updated story

An adult harbor seal was rescued from the beach near 1005 Harbor Ave SW by WA Fish and Wildlife at approximately 1:45 Saturday afternoon. A veterinarian from PAWS was on scene to do an initial health assessment and the seal was then driven to the Fish and Wildlife Lakewood office for further assessment and treatment.  A state marine mammal biologist has reported that the seal died during examination at their office Saturday. The seal was extremely thin and unresponsive, hypothermic and possibly hypoglycemic. A necropsy will be performed on the animal to determine cause of death. 

Seal Sitters responded late Wednesday evening to a report of a seal on a Brace Point beach. The seal was thin and photos were sent that night to a NOAA stranding expert. The seal was gone the next morning at 5 am. Seal Sitters received another report on Friday mid-afternoon of a "possibly dead seal" on the rocks south of Brace Point. However, no seal was found at that location.

There were reports of an injured or sick adult seal being harassed on Alki Beach at approximately 9pm Friday night. An eyewitness at the scene says a man was “petting” the seal, refused to stop when told it was against the law and the authorities were called. At midnight there was a call to an emergency vet clinic regarding a very sick seal on Alki. There are various and confusing reports late that evening that the seal was being poked with sticks, rocks were thrown at him or that he was being kicked. It has, however, been confirmed that a veterinary tech and police officer taped off and monitored the seal from approximately midnight to 4am early Saturday morning. The tide came in at that time and the seal managed to swim off. At 7am the next morning an adult seal in distress was located by Seal Sitters who contacted WA Fish and Wildlife. Positive photo id has verified he was the sick seal photographed by SS earlier in the week, but we cannot confirm that it was the seal harassed on Alki.

Seal Sitter volunteers were not present during the disturbance late Friday evening/early Saturday morning. For clarification on events of that evening, please contact police authorities or NOAA enforcement.

Seal Sitters would like to stress that if anyone sees a marine mammal being harrassed or injured it is a 
matter for law enforcement. Call the NOAA Enforcement Hotline @ 1-800-853-1964 and tell them an animal is being harmed. If humans or the animal is in imminent danger, CALL 911.  Then, call Seal Sitters @ 206-905-7325 or NOAA Stranding Hotline @ 206-526-6733 to report the situation and location of the animal.  

It is a crime to harm a marine mammal. Violators are subject to criminal and civil penalties under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Harassing or harming marine mammals is against the law and punishable with fines up to $20,000 (16U.S.C~1375). The Marine Mammal Protection Act was passed by Congress in 1972 to protect marine mammals in our oceans and on our shores from harassment and harm. To read more about the MMPA, including a link to the text in its entirety, please
click here.

Seal Sitters would like to thank WA Dept of Fish and Wildlife, NOAA Stranding Network and PAWS for their efforts to save this seal, as well as for their on-going advice and support. Please check back for updates on the necropsy results.

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