Avoid interacting with seal pups on Coastside beaches

Press release

By on Tue, March 23, 2010

Barry Parr
Young sea lion at Dunes Beach, June 2009

It’s spring, and harbor seal pups are being born on Bay Area beaches and sand bars. Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary advises beachgoers against interacting with seal pups they may find. Newborn seal pups could suffer permanent harm if they’re mistaken for orphans and accidentally separated from their mothers. Mother harbor seals will sometimes leave their pups on the beach while they forage at sea, and will return to reclaim and nurse their pups if left alone.

Each year healthy seal pups are separated from their mothers by people who mistake them for orphans. The Farallones sanctuary advises beachgoers to report suspected orphaned pups to a park ranger, or to call The Marine Mammal Center, 415-289-SEAL (7325). Seals are also federally protected animals under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and to interfere with one could incur penalties. For information contact [email protected].