Pacific harbor seal pupping season is in full swing on the Oregon coast. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife advises beach goers to stay away from seals and sea lions resting on rocks or beaches.
A harbor seal mother often leaves her pup on shoreline rocks or the beach while she feeds in the sea.
“The pup isn’t stranded, and human activity around it can discourage the female from returning to feed and care for her pup,” said Susan Riemer, marine biologist.
At this time of year, California sea lions are migrating south to breed for the summer, stopping to rest on Oregon beaches. Elephant seals are in the molting stage right now and may look sick, but molting is a natural process.
Seals and sea lions use beaches as a resting spot when feeling tired or ill and should be left alone. People should not approach them, or try to feed or help them. It’s important to keep dogs away as well.
If a marine animal is obviously sick or injured, people can call the OSU Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline at 541-270-6830.