This time of year, numerous young seal pups are venturing onto the Oregon coast. People visiting the coast this Memorial Day weekend need to remember to avoid the animals. Jim Rice coordinates the Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network. He says there have been instances where beach-goers remove lone seal pups because they think they have been abandoned.
Rice: "Mothers will often spend a lot of time out in the water. They're foraging for fish and they are swimming around and they will come ashore to nurse their pups periodically throughout the day. But they don't stay with the pups continuously and the pups are generally left unattended on the beach whish where people are likely to encounter them. And in fact their dogs are likely to encounter them before the people themselves do."
Rice says a mother seal is typically very shy and won't nurture her young if people are present. Hovering or taking pictures of pups can cause them stress as well. Rice says if you do encounter a seal pup, avoid it and make sure dogs are on at a leash at all times.
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