Baby seals are being born all over the Coast right now, and it’s not unusual to see them sitting by themselves on shore, sometimes with an umbilical cord still attached.
Often seals leave their pups on beaches while they hunt for food throughout the day.
Clint and Irene Davy of Gibsons the Wild-life Rehabilitation Centre urge residents to observe seal pups from a distance and call for assistance only if an animal is obviously injured or in distress.
“You can look at it from a distance, but stay back because the adult seal will not call it back into the water if there are people around,” Irene said. If you try to place a seal pup back into the ocean it will come right back onto the beach because it was told to stay there by its mother. “They are more well behaved than some children.”
Pets and children should also be kept away from seal pups as the constant noise and attention can be stressful for the animal.
“Sometimes we have to take them in not because of an injury, but because there are too many dogs around barking at it,” she said.
Since the end of June the wildlife centre has received 60 calls from residents concerned about beached seal pups and the centre has helped six injured baby seals.
The Davys take care of the seal pups until they can be transported to the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at the Vancouver Aquarium; she said the two groups have a good working relationship.
She advises Coast residents to take a picture of any seal pup they think might be in distress and email it to the centre at email@example.com so the Davys can better assess whether the animal is in need of help.
“It’s hard for people to see a little baby seal because they think it’s abandoned, but most of the time it’s OK,” she noted.
Residents can also call the centre at 604-886-4989 or contact the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre directly at 1-604-258-SEAL (7325).