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Woodstock love-in lifts volunteers' spirits

Seal Sitters’ volunteer and scientific advisor Buzz Shaw was out for a walk early this morning along the shores of Elliott Bay. He noticed a seal pup nestled halfway up the jagged rocks along the seawall and gave the hotline a call. First responder Lynn met him at the location.

The pup had apparently come up at the early morning high tide. Because of the cool, drizzly weather there were few pedestrians out and about. Eventually, however, it was necessary to set a tape perimeter to keep the several dozen curious people from standing too close, disturbing him and potentially causing a fall and injury. Health assessment photos taken with a long telephoto lens revealed some scrapes and nicks, but nothing significant that we could see - other than being much too thin, always a concern with often dire consequences. An image which captured a wide yawn revealed a full rack of teeth, indicating he (or she) was recently weaned.

The pup, nicknamed Woodstock by young SS volunteer Adrienne from Snoqualmie, was thin but alert to his surroundings. Around 1:45, Woodstock decided it was time to make his move back to the Sound rather than wait several more hours for the returning tide to reach his perch. He turned and promptly tumbled into a crevice behind a large rock (right). After a couple of attempts to climb over and around the barnacle-covered rocks, he managed to find his way out.

Seemingly uninjured, Woodstock quickly slid off into the still, gray water. Rain-doused volunteers were relieved to observe him actively splashing around offshore with another seal pup - hopefully, both foraging for the small fish that frequent the cove.

It was a lovely day with rainbows and soft rain, barking sea lions, cormorants and two beautiful little pups. Thanks to everyone for giving Woodstock some peace and love.

Seal season off to a rough start in West Seattle

Each harbor seal pupping season (late June - September in South Puget Sound) seems to have its own unique properties. We hate to say it, but this 2014 season is off to a bleak start in West Seattle.

Some years, Seal Sitters MMSN (SSMMSN) responds to lots of pups who show up only for a day or so. Other years, we’ll have a number of pups, successfully making the transition from nursing on mom’s rich milk to foraging on their own, who come ashore for many days in a row (like Spanky and Queen Latifah, both of whom hauled out every day for two months) - the years we seemed to have a surplus of small forage fish in the Fall.

Most years, we have a mix of some healthy pups (like Queen Latifah at left on her rocky throne in 2011) to offset the many struggling ones. The last few years, however, we have had way too many terribly thin pups who didn’t survive. So, the stranding network never knows quite what to expect.

The 2014 season so far has had its quirks, too. For the first time in our 8 years as a stranding network, in early June we had a full lanugo, month-premature pup, believed to have been born on busy Alki Beach. Nicknamed Luigi, he was the earliest newborn pup on record for West Seattle. Sadly, the tiny, abandoned pup had to be euthanized. Another abandoned, but full-term pup was rescued by Seal Sitters from the craggy rocks at Duwamish Head at the end of June. This pup, Junebug, was successfully rehabbed at PAWS Wildlife Center and released back to the wild on August 26th.

To date, Junebug is the only highlight in what is shaping up to be a very disheartening season. Statistically, seal pupping season in West Seattle is recorded from our first response to a newborn pup in the calendar year (usually in mid-late July or August) through the end of the year as pups continue to use the shoreline. We have had fewer responses than our record-breaking season last year, but already have a higher dead pup count in this recent period from the lanugo pup in early June through September 20th. A full third of our responses this season have been to dead pups or pups that subsequently died.

Disturbingly, we have had three pups die in recent weeks with numerous bite wounds to the head and body. Are the seal pups getting roughed up before leaving the rookeries by adult males, intent on mating and competing for space - or are they being attacked on our shores by off-leash dogs or coyotes? That is a question we most likely cannot answer with limited funding for necropsies.

While there is indeed a 50% mortality in the wild for seal pups the first year, the percentage of Seal Sitters MMSN’s responses to dead seal pups just seems to be higher the past few years. We want to be clear that our numbers do not necessarily reflect Puget Sound populations as a whole and the harbor seal population is considered healthy and is not endangered. Other areas may have a more plentiful food source and more successful pups.

We did have high hopes for a bumper crop of healthy pups visiting West Seattle this year, based on reports from biologists observing moms and pups at South Puget Sound rookeries. Apparently, there was less predation, pup abandonment and death this season at one historic harbor seal haulout. As of last week at that island rookery south of Tacoma, only 24 pups (2 of those still nursing) remained - the other chubby 100 or so newly weaned pups had already dispersed, headed elsewhere to forage and rest. Perhaps some of those pups will head our way, evening out responses to emaciated ones.

As we mention over and over in these posts, harbor seal pups are in a daily struggle to survive - and health can take a dramatic downturn in just a matter of days. Undisrupted rest can truly make the difference between life and death. With the approaching wet chill of fall and winter months, seal pups face many challenges ahead of them. While Seal Sitters volunteers can’t control the effects of pollution, disease or declining fish stocks (including that of two sustaining forage fish for seal and sea lion pups: Pacific herring and sardines), what we can do is help pups rest and warm up, giving them a better chance at survival. Additionally, we can spread some powerful education about these amazing animals who share equal time in the sea and on land.

Despite the emotional ups and downs for volunteers, Seal Sitters MMSN will always do our best to ensure that seal pups are protected - free from stress - while resting on our shores. You can help. Please, call our dedicated hotline at 206-905-SEAL (7325) if you see a marine mammal, dead or alive, on public or private beach.

Sad ending for sweet seal pup along westside shoreline


Late Thursday morning, Seal Sitters’ hotline operator fielded a call about a harbor seal pup at Lowman Beach, a small public park along Beach Drive. First responder Lars found the pup resting just above the line of kelp that indicated the high tide mark (photo).

He stretched yellow tape between stakes and driftwood to create a safety zone and called the day’s scheduler, who began the process of lining up volunteers in 2-hours shifts throughout the blustery day. The pup was still sleeping on the pebbled beach when volunteers left after darkness fell that night.

The spotted pup was still onshore early Friday morning. We’re not sure if he returned to the water during the night or not. He did finally make the journey back to the Sound around noon and was seen “bottling” (a normal seal behavior, resting vertically with nose and head held just above the water’s surface) for some time and then vanished.

A comparison of facial markings from i.d. photos revealed that the seal was Plum, a frequent occupant of the offshore “Alki platform” (a considerable distance to the north at the west end of Alki Beach). Just over a week ago, Plum had come ashore on private property directly across from the platform to rest under the watchful eye of homeowners. He stretched and yawned and was on the plump side for a newly weaned seal pup. Thursday morning at Lowman, however, the pup looked decidedly thinner and lethargic. Volunteers were encouraged when Plum returned to the Sound around noon to forage, since a skinny pup’s health can slide downhill quickly.

Around 7pm Friday evening, the hotline received a report of a pup onshore at private property just to the north. In fast approaching darkness, first responders were able to identify the pup as Plum. Sadly, early Saturday morning we received a call of a dead pup just yards from where Plum was last seen resting.

Our responder carefully examined tiny Plum for injuries and clues to cause of death. The male weaned pup was shockingly thin, weighing a mere 8.15 kg (less than birth weight) - a far cry from the alert, semi-chubby one we had seen just a week earlier. Plum had numerous puncture wounds to the snout, head and flippers - similar to the puncture wounds of two other pups who died recently along this stretch. One of the punctures on the mouth was abscessed and perhaps caused difficulty foraging. With limited funding for necropsies, we can only surmise the cause of Plum’s death - certainly emaciation was primary. Without an internal exam there is no way to know if the wounds contributed to the death or if there were additional underlying factors.

Plum was marked with a biodegradable grease pen for identification purposes and the responder placed his body back into the Sound to nourish other marine life. Truly, this was a very sad day for us all.

Rescued and rehabbed pup Junebug goes home to the wild

We just received word that seal pup Junebug was released back home to Puget Sound on August 26th after a lengthy rehabilitation at PAWS Wildlife Center. He was sporting an orange flipper tag for i.d. purposes in case of future sightings, injury or illness.

The abandoned and estimated only 5-8 day old pup was rescued by Seal Sitters MMSN from West Seattle’s Duwamish Head on July 1st. He weighed only 8.6 kg upon intake at the Lynnwood urgent care facility. Junebug was a whopping 31.1 kg on release day (see photo courtesy of PAWS). The tubby pup was released at a known harbor seal haulout near Everett with the help of the Coast Guard.

Rehab for newborn seal pups - and weaned pups - is a lengthy process, as indicated by Junebug’s two-month stay at PAWS. There is no evidence that a fattened up rehab pup has greater odds of survival than wild-weaned ones. All pups face 50% mortality their first year and some would argue that a week-old rehabbed pup who has not been taught to forage in the wild faces even worse odds.

In late January of 2013, Seal Sitters’ first responder noticed a red tag on a pup resting near Salty’s on Harbor Avenue (rehab tags changed from red to orange in 2014). A check in the stranding network database revealed that the pup, whom volunteers nicknamed Ruby, had been rehabbed at PAWS and released in October of 2012 at a harbor seal haulout south of Tacoma. Ruby had made the long trek to Seattle and Seal Sitters volunteers watched over her almost every day - keeping her safe from disturbance - for the next few months at West Seattle’s Jack Block Park. She befriended another weaner pup nicknamed Buddy at the park, but they finally travelled on at the end of April.

The Marine Mammal Stranding Network would like to receive reports which include i.d. numbers of tagged seals, dead or alive. With respect to harbor seal pups, these reports are extremely helpful in determining the survival rate of rehabilitated animals.

Thanks so much to PAWS Wildlife Center and their awesome staff for giving Junebug a second chance at life!

Busy day for Seal Sitters volunteers protecting two pups

Around 8am this morning, Seal Sitters’ hotline guru (and founding member) Larry answered the early call of a seal pup on the beach at Lincoln Park. He promptly contacted our first responder who took one last swig of coffee, bolted out of the house and headed south in her car.

Lugging signboards and stakes into the north end of the heavily wooded park, she could see the white pup resting mid-beach (photo right). The pup had apparently come ashore around the 4am high tide. Awaiting our arrival and keeping people away was reporting party Jeanette. She said, not surprisingly, there had been many off-leash dogs. Thank you, Jeanette and Garet, for keeping the pup safe until we could get there!

A sizable tape perimeter was set with informational signs and a call was placed to Seal Sitters’ scheduler for the day. Connie lined up volunteers who talked to a great many people throughout the morning. The pup was thinner than we like to see and most likely a weaner struggling to get the hang of foraging on his own. Nicknamed Tigger, he (or she) returned to the water around noon, having enjoyed a long snooze. We hope he managed to have a substantial Sunday brunch in the Sound and packs on some blubber.

Around 10 am, the hotline rang with a report of another pup at a second location - along Harbor Avenue below the sea wall (photo left). First responders scrambled to West Seattle’s north end and taped off part of the sidewalk above the resting pup, while still allowing plenty of room for bicyclists, skateboarders and strollers to share.

One man respectfully asked why it was necessary to tape off the area at all since there was a fence at the edge of the seawall. We explained that seals have excellent hearing and vision. Prey animals, they are very wary of their surroundings. People standing too close (and directly above) creates undue stress for a pup who desperately needs to rest quietly onshore and warm up.

This pup was on the thin side, too, and it was vital that precious calories weren’t wasted unnecessarily if he was scared into the water - only to have to swim to another location. In a daily struggle for survival, minor inconveniences for people can truly be the difference between life and death for a harbor seal pup.

A couple visiting from Spokane was thrilled at the unexpected sight of the sleek, silver pup on the beach below. So, we dubbed the pup Spokane, which means “children of the sun” in the Interior Salish language. On this very sunny and warm day, the pup was reluctant to return to the cold water. The incoming tide caused him to move several times north along the sand, seeking a little more shut-eye. Volunteers shifted our tape and signs with each move, passing out seal stickers to kids and talking to a steady stream of interested passersby.

Finally around 2pm, with virtually no beach remaining, Spokane swam out into cobalt blue Elliott Bay. Volunteers checked the nearby beaches north and south, removed our materials and some of our die-hard Mariners fans even managed to get home in time to see the bottom of the ninth. Thanks to all of our dedicated volunteers who helped give the pups some quiet time today!

Seal Sitters and pups featured on NPR (KUOW FM)

(see update end of story for the archived audio clip)

Tune your radio or internet device to KUOW (94.9 FM) Tuesday at noon to hear an interview given by Seal Sitters’ co-founder and acclaimed author Brenda Peterson.

The Record, a feature program Monday - Friday from noon to 1pm on the National Public Radio station in Seattle, is a thought-provoking look at local and national stories. KUOW’s Marcie Sillman talks to Brenda about harbor seal pupping season and the important service that Seal Sitters MMSN and the many other NOAA-authorized marine mammal stranding networks provide.

If you missed the segment, you can listen to the audio here.

Harbor seal pupping season in full swing in South Puget Sound

birth-collage-robin-lindsey-1Seal Sitters has responded to 5 harbor seal pups in 5 West Seattle locations in the past week as pups leave the safety of the area’s rookeries. We are now in the midst of seal pupping season!

On South Puget Sound’s islands, sand bars, rocky spits and log booms, rotund harbor seal pups are begging for a last drink of mom’s rich milk, almost 50% fat, before venturing off on their own. Many more have already been weaned and are now facing formidable challenges and hazards in their struggle to survive the first year of life. By August 15th, 90% of all harbor seal pups had been born in South Puget Sound (view pupping season map here). As of today, well over half of those pups have been weaned - including the pup shown above, born in Sinclair Inlet on July 2nd.

Newborn pups are precocious and can swim immediately after birth. In the inland waters of Washington and British Columbia, they weigh on average between 11 - 11.5 kg and can double their birthweight in a matter of weeks. A study at one South Puget Sound island rookery showed pups there nursed every 3 to 4 hours for an average of 72.5 seconds (Newby, 1973). During the nursing period of 4-6 weeks, a hungry pup can quite literally drain the fat stores of the nursing mom - a female’s weight can be cut in half (photo above of a chubby 3 week old pup with his mom). After weaning her pup, she must then concentrate on building up her own resources, for she must endure a taxing annual molt of her coat and prepare for the winter months that loom ahead.

Just as quickly as pups can pack on weight, so can they lose it post weaning. Studies have shown that harbor seal pups often don’t eat for up to two weeks afterwards. They begin to utilize and burn through their thick layer of blubber, fat which provides energy and insulation. Eventually, they realize there is no longer a nutritious “free lunch” from a willing mom and they must forage and fend for themselves.

Even though seal pups learn to forage with moms near the rookery, catching fast-swimming little fish is a daunting task and some are more successful than others. Since their muscles still have not fully developed, it affects their ability to dive for long periods. As the weeks pass, their body weight can drop noticeably.

At the haul-out toward the end of the pupping season (late June through September in South Puget Sound), testosterone-laced males, intent on attracting mates, show off with aquatic displays (porpoising, tail-slapping, bubble blowing) at the water’s surface and compete for space on the haul-out. Adults become grumpy and spend many hours on land during the uncomfortable molt. Food sources can become depleted with so many seals concentrated in a small area. The idyllic world of attentive and affectionate moms is no longer so for weaners. This is the time that many of them strike out on their own, a solitary journey.

By mid-September, 90% of all harbor seal pups will be weaned in South Puget Sound. This means that by then almost every seal pup that is alone onshore has no mom nearby, waiting to nourish them. Consequently, weaners are most often thin and in a daily struggle to survive against predators, disease and malnutrition. Low body weight increases opportunities for parasites and viruses. They must conserve precious calories, so it is urgent to give them space to rest on our urban beaches.

Still, we cannot rule out that pups who are still nursing age will visit our shores as well over the next 6 or more weeks. If a mom is nearby and sees a disturbance near her pup, she will very likely abandon him - adult seals are notoriously shy and wary of people and predators.

Always stay back and keep people and dogs away from resting seals. In West Seattle, call Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network’s hotline @ 206-905-SEAL (7325). To view a map of NOAA’s stranding networks in Washington State with contact information, click here.

Seal Sitters MMSN renews contract with NOAA

Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network (SSMMSN) has been granted a contract again this year as a member in good standing with NOAA’s West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

This legally binding agreement gives SSMMSN the authority to respond to marine mammals, dead and alive, along the shoreline of West Seattle from Brace Point through the Duwamish River (including Harbor Island). It gives us the jurisdiction to examine and transport marine mammals.

Seal Sitters has the authority to close down access to public areas and establish appropriate perimeters around marine mammals to ensure not only their protection, but that of the public.

All marine mammals are protected from harassment by both the Federal Marine Mammal Protection Act (punishable by fines up to $10,000 and one year in jail) and Washington State law RCW 77.15.130 (a criminal misdemeanor, mandatory court appearance, punishable with up to 90 days in jail and up to $1000 fine). In cases of disturbance or harassment (including feeding, touching, moving), SSMMSN will document infractions and turn over evidence to NOAA’s Office for Law Enforcement and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement for prosecution. If deemed necessary, the local police will also be contacted.

As part of our responsibility, dead marine mammals are examined and documentation is entered into NOAA’s national database. In some instances, animals may also be taken for necropsy. If a marine mammal is not a candidate for necropsy and is on public beach, SSMMSN will arrange for removal through our cooperative arrangement with Seattle Parks. If the dead animal is on private property, disposal is the responsibility of the homeowner.

Please report ALL live and dead marine mammals on both private and public beach to Seal Sitters’ hotline 206-905-SEAL (7325) so that we may help monitor the health of populations. SSMMSN does not receive any funding from local, State or Federal government and depends on donations to perform our work.

Share the Shore banners go up along Alki Beach

As you walk, bike or drive along Alki Avenue, it’s hard to miss the bold, graphic banners of a harbor seal now hanging from 10 street poles which stretch from the Bathhouse to Duke’s. Seattle Parks employees installed Seal Sitters’ Share the Shore banners there yesterday.

Designed to celebrate and raise awareness of the arrival of seal pups on our urban beaches, the banners are the result of an in-kind City of Seattle/Department of Neighborhoods (DON) grant which Seal Sitters secured in 2010. Artist Nancy Stahl created this beautiful illustration from a Robin Lindsey photograph of seal pup Shanti.

The graphics serve as a reminder that September and October are the height of harbor seal pupping season in South Puget Sound - and that it is not uncommon to encounter a resting pup on the beach. Pupping season is already well underway here in our area with the response over the past week to 5 seal pups on West Seattle beaches.

The 2010 and 2011 Seal Sitters’ educational outreach projects also included the installation of informational beach signage about seals and seal pups in locations across West Seattle. NOAA has since extended that beach signage across the region (and plans to extend installation to the Outer Coast of Washington). Read more here.

Many thanks to DON for the award that made this project possible - and we extend huge thanks to Seattle Department of Parks for their on-going cooperation and extreme generosity. We value our partnerships with local government.

So, please do remember to Share the Shore if you see a marine mammal on the beach and call our hotline as soon as possible at 206-905-SEAL (7325).

Sad and unexpected outcome for Beach Drive seal pup

(see update at end of post)
Seal Sitters volunteers are still reeling from an unexpected turn of events at Emma Schmitz Park yesterday. Late Saturday afternoon, just before high tide, a seal pup came ashore at the park’s small pocket beach located below Beach Drive - a beach notorious (as are too many in West Seattle) for illegally off-leash dogs.

Upon arrival, our first responder thanked the reporting party who called the hotline and had even posted some handmade signs warning people that a seal pup was resting there. The next order of business was to cordon off access to a small section of the sidewalk that runs along the seawall and opens onto the beach. With only a few feet of beach to rest upon, the tired pup snuggled right up against the cement entryway - barely visible.

The dark-coated pup was thin, but alert and stretched and yawned in typical seal pup fashion. Then, the pup zonked out for a snooze. Over the next 5-plus hours on this beautiful evening, there were many people out and about - walkers, bikers, paddleboarders - all of them thrilled to learn about the tiny, exotic visitor who would occasionally peer up, curious about the strange and excited 2-legged creatures on the sidewalk high above him.

Late in the evening, after darkness fell and the crowds dispersed, our volunteers reluctantly left for home. The pup, nicknamed H2Otis, was sleeping peacefully on the now expansive beach and we hoped he’d be safe throughout the night.

At 5:30am, Seal Sitters’ first responder was back to check on the pup. H2Otis was sound asleep - that is, until the noise of the early morning garbage truck caused him to stir and look about. A quick yawn and he was back asleep, still nestled against the wall.

It’s not unusual for a seal pup, particularly a thinner one, to spend many hours on shore before returning to the water. And so, H2Otis spent the entire morning there. We had no reason for particular concern for his health - other than needing to pack on some pounds - because he exhibited no symptoms of distress. Around noon, he made a decisive move toward the Sound and we were relieved that he was returning to forage. A pup coming and going from the water is a good sign.

However, after resting for some time halfway to the water’s edge, he started his trek again, but began having seizures. We realized something was horribly wrong. Plans were quickly put into place for a rescue. A call was placed to PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynnwood to make sure they could accept him for treatment. First responders examined the pup, but he was largely unresponsive. PAWS recommended we bring him in for humane euthanasia (if necessary). There was very little hope he could survive, but we did not want him to suffer, potentially for hours, in the hot sun on the beach.

Sadly, H2Otis died en route to the rehab facility. PAWS’ initial exam revealed that H2Otis had multiple small puncture wounds - animal bites - to the head, tongue and rear flipper. These wounds were not noticeable Saturday evening or Sunday morning because of his dark brown coat and lack of blood. Upon closer examination of photos taken in poor and contrasty light on Saturday, faint indications of small wounds can be seen at high magnification. His positioning against the wall made health assessment photos difficult to obtain. So, it appears that he was attacked before Seal Sitters’ response late Saturday afternoon. We want to stress that we do not know when, where or by what species H2Otis was attacked.

PAWS will perform a necropsy on the male pup to try to determine what species of animal attacked him. It will also help to establish if the wounds were the cause of death or if there were other underlying health issues that were asymptomatic. Thanks so much to PAWS’ staff for offering to necropsy the pup. We will update with the findings as soon as they become available.

We are just heartbroken and stunned by this unforeseen outcome. Seal Sitters volunteers and a respectful public can take solace in the fact that we gave H2Otis peace from harassment and disturbance these last hours of his life. This was our privilege and gift to him. He, in turn, gave us a gift that cannot be put into words.

This is a reminder to everyone that each day is a struggle to survive for harbor seal pups, who have a 50% mortality their first year. Always keep your dog leashed near the beach - even the most well-behaved dog can be unpredictable and dangerous to seals. Please Share the Shore - stay back if you see a pup on the beach and call Seal Sitters MMSN @ 206-905-SEAL (7325).

Yesterday, a full necropsy was performed on seal pup H2Otis at PAWS Wildlife Center. Unfortunately, it was inconclusive what species of animal inflicted the numerous bite wounds on the pup. It appears, however, that the punctures were not the cause of death. The male pup was in much worse body condition than anyone realized, with little fat store and no food in his system. It is believed the seizures were caused by hypoglycemia.

3 seal pups in 3 days as pupping season hits our urban shores

Around 2pm yesterday afternoon, a small harbor seal pup flip-flopped out of Puget Sound’s frigid waters and onto the shore at Lincoln Park. The third reported pup in three days on West Seattle’s shoreline, he (or she) was on the thin side, but alert and moved well back and forth on the beach.

Unlike sea lions, harbor seals can’t rotate their rear flippers to aid in locomotion on land. Though highly acrobatic in the water, they move with a caterpillar-like motion on shore and are much more vulnerable as they seek rest and try to warm up. Never return a seal pup to the water - rest is critical to their survival. Sometimes, they will shiver as they try to regulate their body temperature. This is normal. Never wrap a pup in a towel or blanket - this can cause brain damage or death. It is illegal to touch, move or feed seal pups.

Quickly arriving at the park, Seal Sitters first responders established a perimeter with tape, cones and informational signs and talked to quite a number of people who expressed both interest and support. 6-year-old Alice named the pup Adventure, who settled in for a long nap between the beach logs. Volunteers stood watch in two-hour shifts until darkness fell in the park. Thanks to all the volunteers who put in a very long day yesterday!

Our first responder sought Adventure at 6am this morning, as the pink light of dawn reflected in the still, blue waters of the Sound. Thankfully, the beach was remarkably free from the usual illegally off-leash dogs. A handful of silhouetted fishermen cast their lines in hopes of snaring of one the few remaining cohos making their way north to Admiralty Inlet. The seal pup was no longer in his log hideaway and had not been seen by the fishermen. We assume Adventure returned to the water for a late-night snack or early breakfast - perhaps from mom, but more likely he is weaned and foraging on his own.

Please call our dedicated hotline at 206-905-SEAL (7325) if you see a seal pup (or other marine mammal) on the beach. Having extra eyes on the beach from the public greatly enables Seal Sitters MMSN to give pups the sanctuary they need - and deserve - on shore.
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