PORT ANGELES – A juvenile elephant seal from California was molting near the Arthur D. Feiro Marine Life Center on Thursday.
The seal swam onto Hollywood Beach at about 8 a.m., then flopped over to a grassy area in front of the center.
It will be there as long as it wants to be, said Liam Antrim, resource protection specialist for Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.
“There’s no predicting how long it will be there, but the molting process takes roughly a month,” Antrim said.
A large area is roped off around it, with signs explaining the seal’s molting process – which happens annually – and warning people to stay away from it.
“Right now, there’s a police recruit standing by and it’s a pretty broad perimeter,” said Antrim.
“It’s really a public safety issue.”
Antrim said the seal, which weighs at least 300 pounds, is deceptively quick, despite being out of the water.
“Seals don’t have large front flippers, but they can lunge 10 feet.
“They also can move quickly and snap their heads around.