The harbor seal breeding season has started in northwest Washington, and the National Marine Fisheries Service is reminding people to stay away from seal pups left alone on the beach.
Seals and sea lions come ashore to rest, regulate their body temperature and nurse their young. Mothers often leave pups behind to rest and stay warm while they return to the ocean to feed. They are wary and easily spooked from returning to care for their pup. A seal pup alone on the beach has likely not been abandoned but could become so if people and pets stay in the area.
Seal pups are vulnerable to attack; keep pets away and on a leash. Pets can disturb or harm wildlife or separate mothers from their pups.
If you see an injured, stranded or dead marine mammal, please call the Whatcom Marine Mammal Stranding Network’s hotline at 360/966-8845.