Monday, July 10, 2006

Pup Sitting

When we went to an Earth Day celebration back in April, we signed up to be contacted about volunteer work with the Marine Mammal Rescue network in our county. It seemed like a good thing to do with our time, to be trained to protect stranded marine mammals or to keep humans away from seal pups on the shore. We didn't hear from anyone until a week ago when we received an email asking if we were still interested. I wrote back right away saying absolutely we were still interested.On Saturday, we received a second email welcoming us and explaining that there would be a volunteer training some time in the future, but there had been some personnel changes, and things weren't happening as had been planned. In the email, they sent the above photo that they had just taken of a baby Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina richardsi) which had been born some time last week. The seal pup still had its umbilical cord attached and was asleep in a kelp bed right outside of the Marine Science Center. There was a post script asking if anyone was interested in pup sitting this harbor seal, keeping other humans from her, that very day. I called right away, but was put through to voicemail instead of a live human, so I left a message saying, sure we'd be glad to come out and pup sit.
We didn't hear from them until late Saturday, and by then they had taken care of the baby themselves. But after having taken one look at the seal pup photo, I was thoroughly smitten. I had to get down there and see that little one with my own eyes. So we drove over to Fort Worden on Sunday and found her right there on the sand, cordoned off from humans by orange "Keep Out" tape .
We watched her from the dock that leads to the marine center. She was right at the shoreline, and the tide was coming in. She didn't quite like when the water reached and washed over her, so she crawled farther up on shore, slowly, pausing to snooze between movements. She was just waiting for her very nutritious and yummy mom to arrive.
Oh yes, we are definitely hooked. We want to be part of a volunteer crew to protect these little ones. How could we not?

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