Featured Image Credit: Alan Holyoak
By Jessie Kittel
For the harbor seals residents of the Central California coast, this time of year means a whole lot of little harbor seals. Pupping season has only just started however, two pups have already had to be rescued after being abandoned.
As reported on ksbw.com, the first pup was likely abandoned due to human interaction scaring the mom away, leaving the pup to fend for itself. For the skittish harbor seals, it doesn’t take much to scare the adults back into the water and away from their young pups. Harbor seal pups need to stay near their mom for at least three months to stand a chance at survival; if they are abandoned they are unlikely to survive.
When the pup was abandoned, the Monterey Bay Aquarium was called in and, after watching the pup and deciding it was unlikely the mom was going to return, volunteers rescued the pup.
Over the last few years, mom-pup separations due to human interaction have steadily risen.
As stated by Monterey Bay Operations Manager, Julia O’Hern, “we’re just asking people to stay really far away, if you can see the pup or you can see the harbor seal and she is looking at you, you’re too close.”
Another pup, nicknamed Lil Nugget is at a facility in Moss Landing along with the other harbor seal pup.
Despite being off to a less than promising start, O’Hern is hopeful that this year’s pup rescues will be fewer than the 13 harbor seal pups that were rescued last year.
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