PHOTOS: Seal Pup Seen on North Beach of Burien’s Three Tree Point Monday
Story & Photos by Scott Schaefer
As I was attempting to take a photo of Monday night’s hazy sunset, I was alerted that there was a baby seal pup lying above the high tide mark on the north beach of Burien’s Three Tree Point.
The pup was resting peacefully, moved several times, and seemed to be in decent shape. Markings on the animal indicate that he may be “Casey,” a frail-looking male that was last seen in West Seattle over the weekend by Sealsitters, an organization that monitors and protects pups in that neighborhood.
“It looks like it is indeed Casey,” Robin Lindsey of Sealsitters told me Monday night after she reviewed the photos. The West Seattle Blog posted a story about Casey on Sunday, which included a pic showing his distinct markings – read that here.
One man was fishing nearby, and the couple who alerted me were observing from a safe distance.
As another man approached with an off-leash dog, he was warned of the pup’s presence; thankfully he safely reined his dog in.
“If you see a harbor seal pup alone on the beach, do not disturb them. It’s the law,” reads a statement on the state’s Department of Ecology website. “Human encroachment can stress the pup and scare the mother and other adult seals away.”
The website adds:
For your safety and the health of the pup, leave the pup alone. Do not touch! Do not wrap a pup in blankets (seals are protected by blubber and blankets will cause it to overheat.) Do not try to feed a pup. (Incorrect feeding can cause a pup to die.) Do not try to force a pup into the water. Keep pets and children away from a pup.
Seals also are known to carry diseases that are transmittable to humans, and touching a marine animal is a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MIMPA).
Pupping season occurs during the summer and early fall, a peak time for boating and beach walking. Harbor seals are easily frightened of humans during this time. Please stay clear of seal haul outs and leave marine mammals in peace to raise their young.
If you happen upon a seal pup in the Burien/south sound area, you are encouraged to keep a safe distance, make sure no off-leash dogs are nearby, keep people away, and call Highline College’s MaST Center at (206) 724-2687.
Please note that Sealsitters, based in West Seattle, cannot handle calls out of its jurisdiction.
I of course kept my distance, quietly used a telephoto lens, and carefully shot the following photos:
EDITOR’S NOTE: We inadvertently originally recommended that people call ORCANET to report Seal Pups in the south Puget Sound region. The correct number to call is Highline College’s MaST Center at (206) 724-2687 (we have since called them).