Reading and Study Skills 1
Reading and Study Skills 1
Exploring the Big Picture
“ Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.” John Locke
Hungry Seal Pup
Feds: Leave starving Puget Sound seal pup alone
By DOUG ESSER, Associated Press Published: Jul 26, 2013 at 11:54 AM PDT Last Updated: Jul 26, 2013 at 6:13 PM PDT
An abandoned seal pup named "Henderson" sits on a log near adult seals, Thursday, July 25, 2013. Witnesses say adult seals shoo Henderson away when he tries to nurse.
SEATTLE (AP) - It might be agonizing to watch a harbor seal pup that appears to be starving, but "rescuing" it would be unnatural and could do more harm than good, a spokesman for the National Marine Fisheries Service said.
Touching the pup also would be illegal, spokesman Brian Gorman said Friday.
A woman with a waterfront home on south Puget Sound about 5 miles north of Olympia has been agonizing for a week over a nearby pup that has been crying, alone and apparently neglected.
From her home, Brandy Garcia can see a couple of dozen pups who haul out on a former railroad trestle on Henderson Inlet. She sees other mothers feed their pups but not this one.
Animal agencies and rescue groups have all told her to let nature take its course, but she says it seems inhumane.
Susanne Beauregard, director of Thurston County Animal Services, told The Olympian on Thursday her agency could help. But that was before she knew the pup was in the middle of a breeding colony.
"You cannot approach an active birthing area in a watercraft without causing a great deal more harm to the other seals," Beauregard said Friday.
Garcia has been watching the pup since last weekend when its cries kept her awake.
"It's heartbreaking," she told The Olympian earlier. "Morally and ethically, I feel horrible watching that poor thing starve to death."
All the wildlife agencies and rescue centers she has contacted have told her to let nature take its course.
"Yes, my instinct is to go out and grab the seal and make it all better," Beauregard said. "If we did that, we might destroy the possibility of 25 pups and mothers maintaining communication after that.
"It's not as simple as it seems," she said.
It's normal for about half the 3,000 to 5,000 harbor seals born in Puget Sound to die before they are a year old, Gorman said.
"I can't emphasize enough to your readers this is perfectly normal and part of the breeding strategy harbor seals have evolved over tens of thousands of years," Gorman said.
Most seal pup deaths are not witnessed, just as people don't usually see "fawns or baby rabbits of baby robins die."
"This is what happens in the real world," Gorman said, adding he doesn't want to sound cold and aloof.
Human intervention would be a mistake, he said.
"We don't know no mother is feeding it. It hasn't been monitored 24-7," Gorman said. "Mothers may nurse at night. She may be at the point where her pup should be weaned, at which point it will be left and it will figure out for itself to go into the water and forage or it won't."
"Unless there is some human-caused injury, like being caught in a net or shot, it just doesn't make ecological sense to interfere in what is a natural evolutionary process," he said.
There's a chance the pup could be adopted by a mother who lost her pup, Beauregard said.
"I can always hope for something like that."
By DOUG ESSER - Associated, Press. "Feds Say Leave Starving Puget Sound Seal Pup Alone." AP Regional State Report - Washington (2013): Newspaper Source Plus. Web. 21 Jan. 2014.
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