Featured Image Credit: Flickr
By Laura O’Brien
Seal pup season is upon us and will last through July. With all of the adorable new additions to our beaches, there are some important things to keep in mind. The Marine Mammal Center requests that beachgoers do not approach seals during their pup season, because doing so may cause mothers to abandon their pups. Once seal pups are abandoned, they become far less likely to survive. Mother seals often leave their pups on the beach while they hunt, and the mother may be able to see you even if you don’t see her. The Marine Mammal Center even stated that the mother may abandon her pup if she smells evidence of human interaction.
For this reason, humans should be mindful and keep their distance from seals during pup season. Abby McClain of the Marine Mammal Center said, “our motto is 50 feet”. Tracy Mercer, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Monk Seal Research Program, suggested a helpful trick to help the public determine if they are too close to a seal. If you see a seal, hold your thumb out, perpendicular to the seal. You should be able to completely block the seal’s body from your sight. If you still see part of the seal’s body, then you are too close.
Unfortunately, a certain trend has been encouraging many inappropriate human-seal encounters this season. The Marine Mammal Center attempted to reach Facebook users with a post which read, “the selfie – Worst thing for seal pups since the invention of the orca”. Many social media users have approached seal pups and taken a quick photo of the animals, unaware that their selfie may cost that seal pup its life. When you are at the beach this seal pup season, please keep in mind the Marine Mammal Center’s message, “one quick selfie isn’t worth the pups life”
Learn more from our sources, https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/The-Marine-Mammal-Center-Sends-Warning-Do-Not-Take-Selfies-With-Seal-Pups-478351533.html , http://awesomeocean.com/guest-columns/monk-seal-born-hawaii/