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“Stranded” seal pups probably aren’t

Posted by: | May 23, 2014 Comments Off on “Stranded” seal pups probably aren’t |

Seal pups rest on shoreNEWPORT – Around this time each year, many baby seal pups find their way to Oregon’s beaches … and each year, well-meaning people  put the young animals in danger by trying to “rescue” them.

The word from the experts: Keep your distance, keep your dogs on leash – and whatever you do, don’t touch. The pups are simply waiting for their mothers to return from hunting for food.

“It is perfectly normal for seal pups to be left alone on the beach in the spring,” said Oregon State University biologist Jim, who coordinates the statewide Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network headquartered at OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. “Newborn pups typically spend several hours each day waiting for their mothers to reunite with them.”

“Adult female seals spend most of their time in the water, hunting for food, and only come ashore periodically to nurse their pups,” Rice said. “But the mothers are wary of people and unlikely to rejoin a pup if there is activity nearby.”

Rice urges beach goers to stay at least 50 yards from any pup they spot on the beach – and to make sure children and dogs do, too. Approaching the young animals can cause life-threatening stress, and will almost certainly keep their mothers from rejoining them.

Harbor seals on the Oregon coast give birth from March through June, with a peak in mid-May, and authorities have grown accustomed to reports of “stranded” baby seals as more summer visitors come to the coast. Such reports are unnecessary unless an animal appears to be injured or in distress – or if you spot someone bothering or harassing the animals. In such cases, Rice urges a call to the Oregon State Police at 1-800-452-7888, Rice said.

Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, people harrassing these animals – even out of a misplaced desire to help – risk being fined. The federal Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits interference with seal pups and other marine mammals on the beach.

Learn more:

under: beach safety, marine animals, marine mammals, Posters

Holiday gifts with a marine-science theme

Posted by: | December 8, 2011 Comments Off on Holiday gifts with a marine-science theme |

Popular titles from Oregon Sea GrantLooking for the perfect gift for the marine science, conservation and recreation lovers on your holiday list?

Oregon Sea Grant offers a wide range of publications, videos and other products, available from our secure online store and sure to please your ocean-loving friends and relations:

  • Scientists, fishermen and conservationists alike raving about our newest book, Pathways to Resilience: Sustaining Salmon in a Changing World. This 392-page volume collects 11 essays representing the most-forward thinking about resilience and Pacific salmon collected to date, pointing to new ways we may consider and interact with this iconic fish.
  • Gems of the Oregon Coast: Two short videos explore some of the natural wonders of the Oregon coast – the breathtaking vistas of Cascade Head and the hidden old-growth forest wilderness of Cummins Creek.
  • Sharks of Oregon – a color poster featuring beautiful (and scientifically accurate) illustrations of the 15 species of shark found in the waters off Oregon, from the the sixgill shark, with its electric green eyes, to the sand-loving Pacific angel shark and the notorious Great White.  Perfect for a child’s bedroom or a budding marine scientist’s dorm room.
  • For the coastal adventurer, check out the Oregon Coast Access Guide, a richly detailed, 368-page, mile-by-mile guide to to scenic  US Highway 101. Travel writer Ken Oberrecht follows the highway from the Columbia River to the California border, telling you where to go, how to get there, and what to expect.
  • For those who enjoy boat-watching, we’ve got Boats of the Oregon Coast, an illustrated, pocket-sized field guide describing the most common commercial fishing vessel types you’ll see offshore or at dockside, including a short history of Oregon’s fisheries.
  • If your family is among the thousands who’ve grown up visiting and loving Visitor Center at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, consider a gift that gives to others: Make them part of the gorgeous Glass Quilt Giving Campaign installation in our lobby by purchasing a glass square engraved with their name. Proceeds support our public and marine science education programs at the center.
  • The HMSC Visitor Center Bookstore also has an online store, featuring a selection of their most popular books, clothing and gifts. How about a ball cap featuring our iconic giant Pacific octopus?

Browse the sites above for lots more great gifts for those who love the ocean and coast!

under: gifts, Oregon Sea Grant, Posters, publications, science education, sharks, videos

Seal pups on the beaches: Leave them alone

Posted by: | April 5, 2011 Comments Off on Seal pups on the beaches: Leave them alone |

Seal pups rest on shoreNEWPORT, Ore. – The arrival of spring has brought a number of young seal pups onto Oregon beaches, where they are at-risk from well-meaning coastal visitors who want to “rescue” them.

Oregon State University marine mammal biologist Jim Rice is urging the public to refrain from touching or approaching the seal pups, which in most cases are not orphaned or abandoned, he pointed out. They frequently are left on the beach by their mothers, who are out looking for food.

“Seal pups being left alone on the beach in the spring is perfectly normal,” said Rice, who coordinates the statewide Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network headquartered at OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. “Newborn pups typically spend several hours each day waiting for their mothers to reunite with them.

Read more from OSU News & Research Communications

Download our “Seal pups rest on shore” poster (.pdf)

under: environment, marine education, marine mammals, Posters

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