PORT ANGELES — The juvenile elephant seal that parked itself on Hollywood Beach on Jan. 10 apparently has returned to sea.
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Research Coordinator Ed Bowlby said the nearly 300-pound male left the Port Angeles beach late Tuesday afternoon.
The seal did not appear to be in distress, Bowlby said.
“People reported labored breathing, but that’s not unusual for an elephant seal,” Bowlby said. “There was no other indication of any kind of problem.”
Elephant seals typically find a quiet beach on which to molt, but this seal did not appear to be molting.
“They molt at different times of the year by age class and gender,” Bowlby said.
He added that it was still too early for this seal’s molting season.
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary and Arthur D. Feiro Marine Life Center officials will be watching to see if the seal returns to the popular beach at the foot of Lincoln Street.
“There is a possibility that it could come back,” Bowlby said.
Sanctuary officials put yellow caution tape around the seal where it settled.
It rested near the bottom of the stairs that lead from the Port Angeles City Pier parking lot to Hollywood Beach.
Marine wildlife officials advise the public to keep themselves and their pets away from beached seals because they can transmit diseases.
In April 2009, Bowlby and other scientists moved a cub seal from Hollywood Beach to Ediz Hook.
________Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-417-3537 or at email@example.com.