Harbor seal pup being monitored on Hollywood Beach dies

PORT ANGELES — A harbor seal pup on Hollywood Beach that wildlife officials had been monitoring died overnight Saturday.

“The pup did not make it through last night and we received permission from the Stranding Coordinator to relocate its body so that we can continue to respect nature’s role,” said Melissa Williams, executive director of Feiro Marine Life Center, in an email Sunday. “This is a difficult thing for people to see.”

The Hollywood Beach pup was spotted Thursday and had moved closer to City Pier by Friday morning.

Yellow caution tape was placed around the seal to discourage people from coming too close.

About half of the seal pups born in the Salish Sea do not survive, Williams said.

Many deaths occur when the mother leaves to find food or during the weaning period when the pups are expected to begin to forage for themselves, Williams said.

Williams said it is unusual for harbor seals to rest on Hollywood Beach given the human presence.

Nursing harbor seal pups stay with their mother for four to six weeks before they are weaned to forage and survive on their own, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Weaned pups will spend many hours on shore to rest and regulate their body temperature.

Williams said the Hollywood Beach pup was likely exhausted from moving higher on the beach for the tide.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].

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