For more news about seal pups and other marine mammals as well as volunteer activities, please visit Seal Sitters' Blubberblog. NOAA FISHERIES PROPOSES ARCTIC RINGED SEAL CRITICAL HABITAT, SEEKS PUBLIC COMMENT (December 2, 2014, NOAA) In December of 2012, NOAA Fisheries declared four subspecies of ringed seals in Alaskan waters, including the Arctic ringed seal, as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Now, after extensive input from local and state governments, Native partners, and the public to determine critical habitat areas off Alaska's coast, NOAA has released the proposed protected designations for public comment. Rising temperatures from global warming are a direct threat to Arctic seals who rely on ice floes for resting, breeding and nursing and on snow caves to protect pups. Read more about ringed seals, the smallest of the northern seals, and the proposed habitat on NOAA's dedicated webpage here.
AGENCY PROPOSES CRITICAL HABITAT FOR RINGED SEALS (December 2, 2014, Associated Press) NOAA Fisheries has propsed that about 350,000 miles of ocean off Alaska's north and west coast, including much of the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas, as critical habitat for the Arctic ringed seal. The threatened species, a sustaining prey food of polar bears, is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future due to climate change, according to a NOAA spokesperson. Read the AP article here.
$5,000 OFFERED FOR INFO ON KILLING OF MOTHER SEAL (May 8, 2014, KGW.com) Animal rights organization PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) has offered a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who ran over and killed a mother seal on the Washington Coast. The seal had come ashore to nurse her newborn pup. Volunteers had put up cones and tape to keep people away from the vulnerable animals. But on April 20th, the seal was found run over, her tail severed and had to be euthanized. Her pup has not been found. Read more here.
CASCADIA RESEARCH OF OLYMPIA HELPS FREE HUMPBACK WHALE FROM CRAB POT GEAR (May 7, 2014, The Olympian) A young whale entangled in crab pot gear was freed Tuesday by a team from Cascadia Research (a member of NOAA"s West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network) and the Coast Guard. Read the story in The Olympian here. For more details, including photos, view Cascadia's report about the disentanglement here.
RECORD NUMBER OF SICK, STRANDED SEALS AND SEA LIONS FOUND ALONG NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COAST (May 5, 2014, 5KPIX-TV, CBS) A marine mammal rescue group said Monday it's seeing a record number of stranded sea lions and seals along the northern and central coast of California - some of whom appear to have been sickened by toxins and others weaned by their mothers earlier than usual. Read the full story here.
MOTHER SEAL RUN OVER AND KILLED ON WASHINGTON BEACH (May 3, 2014, KGW-TV, Portland) A mother seal was intentionally run over on a beach on Washington's southwest coast in the town of Ocean Park. The seal gave birth on April 19th and was being periodically monitored by volunteers who had established a protective area, clearly marked with construction cones and tape around the nursing mom and her pup. On the morning of the 20th, the female was found near death with her tail severed - she had been run over by a truck. The seal was euthanized by authorities and the pup is missing. View the breaking news story here.
SEAL KILLING SHOCKS COAST (May 1, 2014, The Daily Astorian) Only 24 hours after observers enjoyed the rare experience of witnessing a harbor seal pup's birth on a Peninsula beach, wildlife enforcement officers were investigating the mother's death and the pup's disappearance.
It appears that someone intentionally drove a truck through a tape barrier that had been established to protect the nursing mom and her pup. The female was found bleeding and near death with a severed tail and had to be euthanized. The pup is missing. In Southern Washington, vehicles are allowed on some beaches. Read this story here.
SAN DIEGO CITY COUNCIL VOTES TO CLOSE LA JOLLA BEACH IN PUPPING SEASON (February 24, 2014, Los Angeles Times) The City Council voted 6 to 3 to close the beach at the Children's Pool (Casa Beach) in La Jolla during the annual five-month pupping season of harbor seals. For two decades, through dueling litigation, the issue of people vs. seal has raged at this beach, costing the city more than $1 million in legal bills. Read more. WEST COAST SARDINE CRASH COULD RADIATE THROUGH ECOSYSTEM (January 5, 2014, LA Times) The biggest sardine crash in generations, which has made schools of the small, silvery fish a rarity on the West Coast could cause sea lions, brown pelicans and other predators dependent on the energy-rich fish to suffer for years. Read more about scientists' warnings here.
CRASH IN SARDINE POPULATION MAY EXPLAIN SICK SEA LION PUPS (January 5, 2014, LA Observed) Cold water off California's coastline may be part of the cause of an alarming crash in the number of sardines. The lack of the mineral-rich fish may have forced sea lion mothers to eat less-fatty prey, producing less nutritious milk for their pups. Approximately 1,600 malnourished young sea lions stranded along the California coast last year. Brown pelicans are also showing signs of hunger most likely due to the decline of sardines. Read more here.
NAVY TO EXPAND SONAR TESTING DESPITE MARINE-LIFE CONCERNS (December 15, 2013, Associated Press/Seattle Times) The U.S. Navy plans to increase sonar testing over the next five years, even as research it funded reveals worrying signs that the loud underwater noise could disturb whales and dolphins. Read the story here.
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION PRAISED FOR PROTECTING ENDANGERED WHALES FROM DEADLY STRIKES (December 6, 2013, Humane Society of the United States) The Obama administration has announced that it is permanently requiring certain ships to slow down in designated areas to protect critically endangered right whales. Read more here.
HOW WHALES LOSE THEIR WAY: TIDES, TOXINS AND OTHER TROUBLES (December 5, 2013, NBC News) How did dozens of pilot whales get so seriously stranded in Florida's Everglades National Park? Read more here about the potential causes - including the highly contagious morbilivirus.
WHALE RESCUE EFFORT CONTINUES IN FLORIDA'S EVERGLADES AS PODS MOVE TO DEEPER WATERS (December 5, 2013, NBC News) Three pods of pilot whales were moving into deeper waters of Florida's Everglades National Park after being discovered stranded in shallow waters Tuesday night in a remote area. 10 whales had died by the time volunteers and scientists reached the scene and another 41 remain in grave danger. Read the full story here.
A NORTH ATLANTIC MYSTERY: CASE OF THE MISSING WHALES (November 26, 2013, Yale Environment 360) For the past two years, numbers of feeding North Atlantic right whales have dwindled to record lows in Canada's Bay of Fundy. As curious as where the right whales aren't is where they now are - appearing in Cape Cod over the winter. It's clear to scientists that the whales' new itinerary must signal a shifting food supply. Read more of this informative article here.
MISSING ENDANGERED RIGHT WHALES SPARK CONCERNS (November 6, 2013, Cape Cod Times) Scientists contemplate why for the past two years, most of the 510 remaining North Atlantic right whales have not shown up at their usual feeding grounds in the area from Buzzards Bay to the Canadian border. Read more.
DOLPHIN-KILLING VIRUS REACHES FLORIDA AND IS INFECTING WHALES, TOO (November 8, 2013, NBC News) In July of this year, bottlenose dolphins began dying off along the Northeastern seaboard, infected with a highly contagious measles-like virus (morbilivirus). As Atlantic dophin herds have migrated south, diseased and dead dolphins and two species of whales have turned up dead in Florida. Read more about this very worrisome event here.
WHAT'S EATING STARFISH? MYSTERY THREATENS POPULATIONS ON BOTH COASTS (October 28, 2013, NBC News) A grisly disease is decimating starfish populations on both North American coasts. Brown University researcher Gary Wessel believes a change in ocean temperature and a new bacterium or virus could be the cause. View a video and read more here.
WHALE MYSTERY BAFFLES EXPERTS (October 4, 2013, The Chronicle Herald, Nova Scotia CA) Fisheries and Oceans Canada is asking the public to help them determine why right whales are missing from the Bay of Fundy. Only five of the endangered marine mammals have been spotted in the waters that separate Nova Scotia and New Brunswick this season - the lowest number recorded in the bay in the past 30 years. Read more.
40 BARRELS OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS DISCOVERED (September 13, 2013, KIRO TV) Port of Seattle officials discovered 40 barrels of unknown and believed hazardous substance as well as an underground storage tank in the South Park neighborhood along Seattle's Duwamish River. Read the story and view video here.
HOW MUCH ARE SEA OTTERS WORTH ON THE CARBON MARKET? (September 2, 2013, ThinkProgress) Kelp beds protected by otters absorb 12 times more carbon dioxide than those thinned out by urchins, according to the researchers studying off the coast of Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Around the world, ecosystems which keep carbon dioxide locked up and out of the atmosphere are getting more and more attention. Read more here.
GOVERNMENT SLASHES FUNDING FOR MARINE MAMMAL RESCUE (September 5, 2013, Wired Magazine) Dozens of marine mammal stranding networks across the country learned on Tuesday that they wouldn't be getting any federal financial help for the next year. This latest series of drastic cuts will greatly impact the ability to respond to marine mammals and perform research about mortality and emerging disease. Read the story here.
SEA CHANGE: THE PACIFIC'S PERILOUS TURN (Seattle Times and PBS News Hour) The Seattle Times explores how ocean acidification could alter the seas on a scale almost too big to fathom. Watch the documentaries here.
NOAA; VIRUS LIKELY CAUSING DOLPHIN DEATHS (August 27, 2013, Seattle Times) Federal officials identified a virus Tuesday as the likely reason hundreds of bottlenose dolphins died along the East Coast, but they say there's little they can do to stop the deaths. Read the fully story here. DEADLY SEA LION MYSTERY DRAWS BIOLOGISTS TO REMOTE ISLAND IN SEARCH OF CLUES (August 16, 2013, Wired Magazine) Scientists study a sea lion colony on Southern California's San Miguel Island to try to determine why thousands of sea lion pups died last year and many more stranded on coastal beaches. Read the full story here.
ACIDITY IN OCEAN KILLED NW OYSTERS, NEW STUDY SAYS (August 12, 2013, Seattle Times) Researchers said Wednesday they have conclusive evidence that ocean acidification is at least partly responsible for killing oysters on the West Coast. Read the fully story here.
NOAA FISHERIES DENIES APPLICATION TO IMPORT 18 BELUGA WHALES FOR PUBLIC DISPLAY (August 6, 2013, NOAA) NOAA Fisheries today announced it is denying the Georgia Aquarium's request for a permit to import 18 beluga whales from Russia for public display in the United States. The decision was based on requirements of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). Read more details about the decision here.
DOLPHINS CAN REGOGNIZE CALLS FROM OLD TANK MATES FROM 20 YEARS AGO (August 6, 2013, Washington Post) A scientist has found that dolphins can recognize an old friend's whistle, even after they have been apart for 20 years - the longest social memory ever recorded for a non-human. Read about this fascinating study here.
NOAA: PUGET SOUND KILLER WHALES TO STAY PROTECTED (August 2, 2013, Seattle Times) Killer whales that spend their summers in Puget Sound are a distinct population group and will remain protected under the Endangered Species Act, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Friday. Read more here.
SEALS TELL TALES OF SOUND'S HEALTH (May 29, 2013, Seattle Times) While they don't have the glamourous allure of that other marine mammal of Puget Sound, orca whales, harbor seals are key sentinel species in Puget Sound. Read the full article by Lynda Mapes, environmental reporter for the Seattle Times.
WHO WOULD KILL A MONK SEAL? (May 12, 2013, New York Times) The mysterious killings of endangered monk seals in Hawaii have all the markings of a fictional drama. But they're very real - and very much embroiled in political intrigue. Read the full article.
SCIENTISTS TRACK GIANT WHALES BY THEIR EARTHSHAKING CALLS (May 11, 2013, Seattle Times) UW scientists are using seafloor seismometers to pick up booming calls from endangered fin whales and track their movements off the Northwest coast. Read more.
ROPE AT CHILDREN'S POOL TO STAY YEAR-ROUND (April 12, 2013, Union Times, San Diego) A judge ruled Friday that the yellow rope designed to protect the harbor seal colony at Children's Pool (Casa Beach) in La Jolla, CA, can remain year-round. Read more.
TAXPAYER-SUBSIDIZED SEAL HUNT BEGINS OFF CANADA'S EAST COAST (April 9, 2013, Humane Society International/Canada) Last month, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador provided $3.6 million in financing so that sealers could be paid to kill seals despite a lack of global markets for seal products. Fisheries Minister Kieth Ashfield has not yet announced the Total Allowable Catch for seals in 2013.
The hunt began just before sunrise on April 9, as boats steamed towards seal nurseries to being this cruel annual slaughter. Read more. NAVY TRAINING RAISES NEW CONCERNS FOR WHALES OFF CALIFORNIA COAST (April 5, 2013, KQED) The US Navy is planning to increase training exercises off the Southern California coast, including sonar and explosives training. That's raising concerns for whales and marine mammals on the entire coast including gray, humpback and blue whales. The Navy's says the sonar-training program could affects marine mammals millions of times over a five year period. Read more.
Watch NRDC's short video on the effects of Navy sonar on marine mammals and sign a petition to prevent new sonar testing here.
SEAL VIDEO BRINGS NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT ON ANIMAL ABUSE (March 21, 2013, CNN) The recent video of two women abusing seals on a Southern California beach, with both pregnant female harbor seals and newborn pups, has created a firestorm over the abuse of animals. Read more and view video.
CHILDREN'S POOL TO BE CLOSED NIGHTLY (March 19, 2013, U-T, San Diego) San Diego Mayor Bob Filner ordered the Children's Pool (Casa Beach) in La Jolla to be closed from sunset to sunrise through mid-May after video surfaced of harbor seals, many of them pregnant, being sat on, kicked and punched. Read more.
Email Mayor Filner here and urge him to close the beach off permanently to people, night and day, year-round.
SAVING SEA LION PUPS (March 17, 2013, ABC News) View ABC News video segment, rescue of emaciated sea lion pups in California. Hundreds are showing up along the coast as marine mammal centers struggle to save them.
FOR STRUGGLING SEA LION PUPS, A LOT OF HEALTHY ATTENTION (March 12, 2013, Los Angeles Times) From Santa Barbara to San Diego, marine mammal sanctuaries have taken in waves of emaciated sea lion pups at rates significantly higher than the norm. Some of the pups found on Southern California beaches were eight months old but still weighing what they did at birth. Read the full story.
WASHINGTON STATE HOUSE PASSES BILL TO BAN FLAME RETARDANTS (March 8, 2013) The Washington House of Representatives passed a bill this week banning the use of flame retardants TCEP and TDCPP. These toxic flame retardants are commonly found in children’s clothing and furniture, but end up in our air, waterways and marine life. Dolphins, orcas and seals (animals at the top of the food chain) are highly contaminated from these toxins. The bill, Toxic Free Kids and Families Act HB1294, would go into effect on July 1, 2015, but still needs to pass the State Senate.
Exposure to flame retardants causes physical abnormalities (including that of the brain, impairing the development of motor activities and cognition), behavioral changes, impairs reproduction and causes immune disorders. Read more about flame retardants and how you can help.
WEBCAM CATCHES WOMEN HARASSING SEALS AT CASA BEACH (CHILDREN'S POOL) (February 18, 2013, AP) A webcam which was set up to give the public around the world a glimpse into the life of a harbor seal rookery in La Jolla, CA, catches women kicking and tormenting seals (many pregnant) during the night. View the full story and KFMB Channel 8 video segment here. Read more about the controversy at Casa Beach here.
NOISY SHIPS, FERRIES CREATE RACKET BELOW PUGET SOUND (January 3, 2013, The Seattle Times) Recent work by University of Washington researchers shows noise in some Puget Sound shipping channels regularly meets or exceeds levels the federal government suggests may be harmful to marine life. Read the full article.
PLAN TO CULL 70,000 GREY SEALS GETS SENATE PANEL'S APPROVAL (October 23, 2012, The Canadian Press) The Canadian Senate's fisheries committee has endorsed a contentious cull of 70,000 grey seals in the Gulf of St Lawrence in a bid to conserve cod stocks. A group of marine biologists at Halifax's Dalhousie University issued a letter last fall that said a cull could produce unintended consequences, including further depletion of cod. Read more.
Related article: IFAW: GREY SEAL CULL NOT SUPPORTED BY SCIENCE (October 23, 2012, MSNBC) The Canadian Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans today release a report recommending a mass cull of 70,000 grey seals in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a recommendation the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) calls an unethical and risky gamble that is not supported by science. "Seals are being used as a scapegot to deflect attention from the very serious issues facing fisheries such as bycatch and overfishing" said Sheryl Fink, Director of IFAW's Seal Program, "There has been absolutely no scientific evidence presented to date that would suggest culling seals will help in the recovery of cod or any other fish stock." Read more.
MASSIVE GREY SEAL CULL SET TO GET SENATE PANEL'S APPROVAL (October 23, 2012, CBC News) The Canadian Senate's fisheries committee is expected today to endorse the killing of 140,00 grey seals, an unprecedented "cull" of the herd, in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, although a prominent biologist questions the move. Jeff Hutchings, a biologist at Halifax's Dalhousie University, says that a cull of grey seal could not be expected to save cod stocks. Read more here.
Watch the related news video here (Senate expected to deal with grey seal cull).
NEW BABY ORCA BORN TO J POD (August 7, 2012, Seattle Times) A new baby has been born to Puget Sound's resident J pod. The baby is believed to have been born on Monday. Read more here.
LOST NORTHERN FUR SEAL SHOWS UP ON HAWAII BEACH (August 2, 2012, Associated Press) An emaciated and weak northern fur seal, normally be found in Alaskan or West Coast waters, has shown up thousands of miles away in Hawaii, according to a NOAA marine mammal response coordinator. This is the first time a seal of this species has been recorded in Hawaii. The seal was transported to a Hawaiian zoo for treatment in hopes that she can eventually be returned to the wild. Read more.
Related video story: SEAL FOUND A LONG WAY FROM HOME. Watch here.
BRANCH WILL BEGIN WARFARE TRAINING IN WATERS TEEMING WITH WHALES AND DOLPHINS (July 16, 2012) The US Navy has plans to employ sonar and explosives as part of its training program in the waters off Southern California and Hawaii - activities that will deafen, kill, or injure thousands of marine mammals. Read more. *It has been speculated, but not confirmed that explosive testing caused the death of a juvenile orca whale in Washington State. Read related April 9 and May 12, 2012 postings below.
'UNPRECEDENTED' KILLINGS OF PROTECTED SEA LIONS; FISHERMEN SUSPECTED (June 5, 2012, US News/MSNBC) Two Pacific Northwest sea lions found shot dead this week, along with at least 18 others in the last two months, make up what one expert call an "unprecedented" attack on marine mammals protected by federal law. Read full story.
TWO MORE SEA LIONS SHOT TO DEATH ALONG OREGON COAST (June 4, 2012, The Oregonian) For the second time in as many days, researchers were called Monday to the coast to necropsy a sea lion. And like the first, this one had also been shot.
That brings to about 20 the number of dead sea lions found in Northern Oregon and Southern Washington in just two months. Almost all bore clear evidence of gunshot wounds, others showed obvious trauma also likely caused by gunshots, said Dalin D'Alessandro, a Portland State University research assistant with the Northern Oregon-Southern Washington Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Read full story.
PORPOISE DEATHS RAISE ALARMS ABOUT HEALTH OF PUGET SOUND (May 12, 2012) Three dead porpoises have washed ashore on Whidbey Island in a matter of days, and now some experts are wondering if the animals were ill - or the cause of their deaths is something worse. Read more.
HUMPBACK WHALES INTERVENE IN ORCA ATTACK ON GRAY WHALE CALF (May 8, 2012) In what is probably the first time such an event has been witnessed and recorded, humpback whales appeared to try to intervene when a pod of killer whales attacked a baby gray whale. Read more.
NOAA RELEASES PROGRESS REPORT ON ORCA L112 DEATH (May 15, 2012) NOAA NW Region Marine Mammal Stranding Network continues to investigate the death of a juvenile killer whale that stranded on the Long Beach Peninsula on Feb 11, 2012, identified as Southern Resident L112. Read the progress report here. Seal Sitters MMSN participated in the necropsy of L112. Read our related story here.
POSSIBLE LINK BETWEEN WHALE'S DEATH, CANADIAN WAR GAMES (April 9, 2012) A US government agency has launched an investigation into whether Canadian war games were responsible for the death of a killer whale that washed up in Washington State in February. Read the story.
LOST FISHING GEAR BECOMING BIG THREAT TO PUGET SOUND MARINE LIFE (April 8, 2012) The death of a rescued seal pup, trapped in an underwater tangle of fishing line, shows the deadly toll of lost fishing gear. Old fishing line, crab pots, lines andhooks ensnare and kill more than half a million sea creatures in Puget Sound every year. Read the full story. Read the story of seal pup Sandy's rescue, rehab and death on Seal Sitters' blubberblog. US, RUSSIA TO COUNT SEALS IN BERING SEA (April 2, 2012) US and Russian researchers this week will begin flights over Bering Sea ice to determine how many ice-dependent seals are out there. Scientists will count ringed and bearded seals, which NOAA has recommended for listing as threatened species due to climate warming. Ribbon seals and spotted seals will also be counted. Read the story. Related story: Ribbon seal sighted in Puget Sound.
INCREASING PRESSURE TO HARVEST SMALL FISH WORRIES SCIENTISTS (March 15, 2012, Seattle Times) Ocean scientists worry that pressure to harvest small schooling fish such as herring, smelt and sardines could have serious consequences for other sea life. The loss of these tiny fish could have profound impacts throughout marine ecosystems - far more so, even, than the loss of some well-known predators. Read the story.
DUTCH NURSERY CARES FOR SLEW OF ORPHANED SEAL PUPS (January 12, 2012) Severe storms that have ravaged the Dutch coast have created a wave of orphaned seal pups - some still with umbilicus cords attached. Many of the weaned pups have been severely infected with parasitic lungworms and suppressed immune systems. In the last 10 days, more than 100 seals have been brought to the sanctuary, which now houses 350 seals. Read full story. Read related story Related story with slideshow
DOZENS OF STORM-BATTERED SEAL PUPS RESCUED BY RSPCA (January 6, 2012, BBC) Rough winter storms came at the worst possible time for seal pups along the coast of England. Over 60 rescued pups are being treated at a rehab facility. Read here.
RASH OF HAWAIIAN MONK SEAL KILLINGS (January 5, 2012) Two critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals were found bludgeoned to death on a Molokai in recent weeks. Earlier this month, a dead seal showed up on Kauai. A fourth possible killing on Molokai is also being investigated. The deaths have come as the federal government steps up its efforts to protect the seals, causing backlash from some fishermen. There are only 1,100 left in the world and scientists say they are on course to vanish in 50-100 years. Read story.
CLIMATE CHANGING OUTLOOK FOR HARP SEALS (January 5, 2012, BBC) According to researchers from Duke University, warming oceans and melting sea ice may have a major impact on harp seals, the animals which are hunted by Canada's annual seal hunt. Seals are dependent on ice for breeding, nursing and resting. Read story.
BABY SEAL SNEAKS INTO NZ HOME, NAPS ON COUCH (December 15, 2011) A seal pup managed to cross a busy road and enter a New Zealand home through a cat door. The pup was found sleeping on the homeowner's couch. Apparently, Lucky, has visited neighborhoods twice before and had to be returned to the sea. The Department of Conservation picked up the animal from the residence, but Lucky managed to escape from his container inside the vehicle and turn on the radio before being released on the beach. Read story.
BODIES OF SIX MURDERED SEALS FOUND IN CAPE COD (June 11, 2011) Six gray seals have been killed on Cape Cod, Mass, beaches over the past five weeks, all of them shot and "suffering greatly," a federal official investigating the deaths said. Read the full story. Related story, Seals divide Chatham views.
NOAA APPROVES REMOVAL OF SEA LIONS AT BONNEVILLE DAM (May 15, 2011, Associated Press) Oregon and Washington have been given permission to resume removing or killing California sea lions at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, a federal agency said Friday. Read the full story.
SEA LIONS FEED ON STURGEON AT BONNEVILLE DAM (February 26, 2011) Oregon and Washington fishery agencies petitioned to remove Steller sea lions from federal protection - it is listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. Key to that is to count how many salmon, steelhead and sturgeon the Stellers take.
The decline led Oregon and Washington this month to put the tightest limits ever on sport and commercial sturgeon fishing, the fourth straight year of cuts. While the states are about to adopt a conservation plan, most biologists and fishermen fear a continued decline of sturgeon, and an eventual halt to all sport and commercial fishing. Read the full story.
SURVEYOR SEALS REVEAL SECRETS OF ANTARCTIC DEPTHS (November 8, 2010) Seals are helping scientists map the Antarctic ocean floor and are providing valuable data that might reveal the reasons for rapidly melting ice. Read the full story.
MORE SEA LION DEATHS REPORTED ON OREGON COAST (PORTLAND KPTV NEWS) (November 5, 2010) A bacterial outbreak has caused numerous deaths in California sea lions along the Oregon coast. Scientists are warning tourists to stay away from the dying and dead animals. The disease can be transmitted to dogs and humans through contaminated urine. Read the full story.
BABY SEALS SAVED, RETURNED TO WILD - THEN WHAT? SCIENTISTS NOW TRACK THEM (October 26, 2010, Seattle Times) Puget Sound harbor seals that have been rehabilitated are being fitted with transmitters to see how they fare. Every year hundreds of stranded harbor seal pups are rescued and rehabilitated from beaches all over the country. But little is known about what happens to those animals once they are returned to the wild. Read the full story.
VACATIONING COUPLE FINDS SEAL PUP ON BEACH AND TAKES BACK TO HOTEL ROOM (June 22, 2010) A young couple vacationing in Westport are accused of taking a harbor seal pup from the beach and taking it back to their hotel. Read the story.
NOT THE BEST SOUVENIR: COUPLE TAKES FOUND SEAL PUP BACK TO HOTEL (June 24, 2010) A young couple on vacation to the Washington Coast illegally picked up an "abandoned" seal pup, taking him back to their hotel room before calling authorities the following day. Read the full story.
SAVVY SEAL JUMPS ABOARD WHALE-WATCHING BOAT TO AVOID BECOMING ORCAS' LUNCH (June 6, 2010) One very lucky harbor seal escaped becoming lunch for a pod of transient orca whales Saturday by jumping onto two boats in the Juan de Fuca Strait. Read the full story.
ROPE BARRIER REMOVED, PUTTING LaJOLLA SEALS AT RISK (May 15, 2010) The rope barrier which protects the seal colony and newly born pups at Casa Beach has been removed due to the designated end of pupping season. This removal has allowed the public access onto the beach, disrupting the rest cycles of the seals and putting them at extreme risk for injury and other health problems. The San Diego City Council will vote Monday, May 17th, to determine the fate of the seal rookery. View the Channel 8 coverage here. Additional tv coverage here. To read all links and articles on this issue, please click here.
STRANDED SEA LION RESCUED FROM SEATTLE BEACH (April 19, 2010) Seal Sitters responded to reports of a stranded sea lion on Golden Gardens beach in Ballard. The injured and underweight California sea lion was removed from the beach by NOAA and WDFW. The sea lion died overnight and necropsy revealed a broken sternum and internal bleeding. All related stories and news videos here.
ANGER MOUNTS AS SEA LIONS ARE KILLED FOR EATING ENDANGERED FISH (April 2, 2010) Year to date, six healthy sea lions have been euthanized by Oregon state wildlife officials under a federal program allowing them to be killed if caught eating salmon at the Bonneville Dam, located on the border of Washington and Orgeon. Hungry sea lions have discovered that the dam is an excellent place to feast on fish as they gather at the base of the dam and attempt to scale the 6-story high fish ladder. Wildlife advocates argue that fishermen take 4 times as many fish as the feeding sea lions. Read the full story. Read all related articles about the Bonneville Dam and sea lions.
SEA LION PUPS STARVING ALONG CALIFORNIA SHORELINE (March 28, 2010, NPR) Starved and emaciated, sea lion pups are beaching themselves along the Pacific Coast. A strong El Nino tropical weather pattern is to blame. Unusually warm sea surface temperatures in the western Pacific are moving east, forcing the sea lions' natural food sources - squid, hake, herring and anchovies - to seek out cooler waters. Adult sea lions have enough fat stored up to survive the resulting food shortage, but their pups aren't so well-equipped. Read the full story.
WORST ICE YEAR KILLS CANADIAN SEALS BEFORE HUNTERS CAN (March 26, 2010) Thousands of harp seal pups are presumed dead in Canada's Gulf of St. Lawrence and starving pups are being found abandoned on the beaches of Prince Edward Island, victims of the worst ice conditions ever recorded in the region. The annual birthing grounds are virtually devoid of both ice and seals. Despite this devastating impact on the harp seal population, the Canadian government has increased the quota for this year's seal hunt. Read the full story. For video footage from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), click here.
SEAL PUP ONE OF THOUSANDS STRANDED ON CANADIAN BEACH DUE TO ICE SHORTAGE (March 25, 2010) Tens of thousands of harp seal pups have washed up on Canada's Gulf of Saint Lawrence beaches during the worst ice conditions ever reported in the region. Read the story.
DARING RESCUE OF ENTANGLED STELLER SEA LION AT SEA LION CAVES (March 21, 2010) A stranding team from Oregon State University worked quickly with the owners of Sea Lion Caves and federal authorities late Thursday to rescue a Steller seal lion entangled in trawler net and trapped on the rocks. For story and video, click here. CANADIAN SEAL QUOTA INCREASED BUT WEATHER MIGHT KILL HUNT (March 15, 2010) Despite an increased risk to the survival of this year's seal pups due to lack of sea ice, the Canadian government has increased the number of seals to be killed this season to 330,000. Read the story.
BAD YEAR FOR SEA LIONS, STARVING PUPS WASHING UP ALONG CALIFORNIA BEACHES (March 12, 2010) Sea lions are having a hard time finding food this spring, and pups are feeling the squeeze. Marine mammal experts report that dozens of sick and hungry sea lion pups have washed up on California shores this winter, many not making it even with the help they get at rescue centers. Researchers are blaming a lack of food. Read the full story.
MORE SICK SEA LIONS WASHING UP ON BEACHES (March 12, 2010, KABC-TV) Dozens of sick sea lion pups are washing up on local beaches and despite rehab efforts, many of the pups are dying at rescue centers. El Nino has caused warm ocean water and is driving away fish and the seals are starving because of it. Read more and view video here.
SEA LIONS KILLED FOR EATING SALMON (March 8, 2010, Huffington Post) A California sea lion last week became the first salmon predator to be euthanized this year under a program that has been denounced by those who say there are far greater dangers to salmon – including the series of hydroelectric dams on the Columbia river. Read the full story. Read all related articles about the Bonneville Dam and sea lions.
SECRET LIFE OF SEALS: BIOLOGIST STUDIES THE ODD ANIMALS - AND THEY STUDY HIM (March 5, 2010, LA Times) Scientist Brent Stewart has studied elephants for 31 years and knows they are watching him. Read this fascinating article about his experiences with the seals of San Miguel Island, the westernmost island of the Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara, California.
FIRST SEA LION OF YEAR KILLED FROM BONNEVILLE DAM (March 4, 2010, Seattle Times) Oregon's Department of Fish and Wildlife says it has killed its first fish-eating sea lion this year after capturing it at Bonneville Dam. A department spokesperson says the seal lion killed Wednesday is one of 64 on a list authorized for euthanization. Read the story. Read all related articles about the Bonneville Dam and sea lions.
CANCER KILLS MANY SEA LIONS, AND ITS CAUSE REMAINS A MYSTERY (March 4, 2010, New York Times) For 14 years, since they first reported that a disturbing proportion of deaths among rescued California sea lions were caused by metastatic cancer, researchers have been trying to pinpoint the source of the illness. Read more.
HARD TIMES FOR YOUNG SEA LIONS (Feb 21, 2010, San Jose Mercury News) Researchers monitoring the sea lion population at Ano Nuevo Island Reserve this past summer noticed an odd and troubling trend - several starving yearlings. In 2009, the mortality rate for pups on San MIguel Island, off Santa Barbara shot up to nearly 80 percent in the third month, from a typical 30%. Read the story.
SEAL HUNT TO BEGIN IN NOVA SCOTIA THIS WEEK (Feb 13, 2010) The annual Canadian seal slaughter is scheduled to start this week in Eastern Canada. An anti-sealing organization plans to film the hunt and distribute the images to encourage a tourism boycott, a spokeswoman said. Sealers are prohibited from using guns on the small island, so they use clubs to kill the seals. Curran said she saw sealers herd the animals into a group before killing them, a practice that has been condemned as inhumane by agencies such as the European Food Safety Authority, Curran said. Read the full story.
Join the HSUS (Humane Society of US) email campaign to Canadian authorities urging that this barbaric slaughter be halted. HSUS OFFERS REWARD FOR SEA LION SHOOTINGS IN SEATTLE (February 12, 2010) The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is offering a $2500 reward for information regarding the shooting of sea lions in the Seattle area. Please visit Seal Sitters' blog for reward details as well as updates and all news links on this breaking news story and three sea lions that were found shot to death on West Seattle beaches.
SEA LIONS SEAL FOUND SHOT TO DEATH IN WEST SEATTLE (February 12, 2010) The National Marine Fisheries is investigating the deaths of at least four sea lions and a seal that have been found shot on a beach in West Seattle. Read the article here. Read the latest updates and all facts regarding this breaking story on Seal Sitters' blog.
ELEPHANT SEAL NEWS: STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL ON NARROW PIEDRAS BLANCAS BEACH (January 28, 2010) The high tides and high surf from storms have wreaked havoc at the elephant seal nursery, with the surf almost obliterating their birthing place. Read the story.
FACING BACKLASH IN EUROPE, CANADA HUNTS FOR NEW SEAL MARKET IN CHINA (January 12, 2010, The Globe and Mail) Despite growing world-wide opposition to the killing of seals for the fur trade, Canada has moved to sell seal fur, blubber and oil to the huge market of China. Read the story.
SEA LIONS FROM SAN FRANCISCO'S PIER 39 MAY BE IN OREGON (January 12, 2010, LA Times) Hundreds of sea lions that made their residence at the San Francisco tourist attraction Pier 39 have apparently relocated to Oregon where food is more plentiful. Read the story.
BEACHED WHALES KILLED BY INGESTING PLASTIC (December 18, 2009, Italy) Seven sperm whales that beached at Foraggia, Italy, died from ingesting plastic in the ocean. Read the story. To read related stories on ocean pollution and the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch", click here.
SEA LIONS SAVED BY CHICAGO AQUARIUM (December 13, 2009, LA Times) Two sea lions removed from the Bonneville Dam on the border of Oregon and Washington were spared death thanks to the Chicago aquarium. Read the story.
SCOTTISH BILL THREATENS PREGNANT SEALS (November 30, 2009, The Guardian) A new marine bill allows the shooting of seals during breeding season. Read here. For more information about work being done to protect Scottish seals, click here.
HUMPBACK WHALE SAVES SEAL FROM ORCA ATTACK (November 26, 2009) NOAA scientists researching orca whales in Antarctica witnessed an amazing display of inter-species protection. A pod of orcas forced a seal off an ice flow, into the water and prepared to attack the seal. A humpback whale intervened and the seal sought safety on the mammal's massive body and protection under the whale's flipper. Read this amazing story here.
JUDGE SAYS SEALS CAN STAY IN LAJOLLA (November 14, 2009, San Diego) A judged has ruled that the harbor seal colony that has resided at Casa Beach for more than a decade can remain there and not be forced from the beach by water cannons and recordings of barking dogs. Read the fully story. To read all links and articles on this issue, please click here.
PACIFIC OCEAN "DEAD ZONE" IN NORTHWEST MAY BE IRREVERSIBLE (October 9, 2009, LA Times) An oxygen-depleted "dead zone" the size of New Jersey is starving sea life off the coast of Oregon and Washington and might be impossible to reverse. Read the story. For more information on dead zones in the Pacific NW visit our pollution page.
JUDGE DISMISSES SEAL CASE (June 30, 2009, La Jolla, CA) Pro-seal advocates lost a round in court Monday when U.S. District Judge William Q. Hayes dismissed a case that would have required federal permits before the seals could be removed from the Children's Pool beach. Read more. To read all links and articles on this issue, please click here.
SICK SEA LION PUPS AND SEALS STRANDED AT RECORD PACE (June 17, 2009, Laguna Beach, CA) The Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, Ca, is experiencing a record number of ailing sea lion pups and seals stranded along the Orange County coastline. The numbers are up a dramatic 74 percent compared to last year. NOAA believes the cause could be contributed to climate change and lack of food. Most of the sea lion pups are extremely malnourished and many have died. Read more.
FEDERAL COURT: LEAVE THE SEALS ALONE (June 1, 2009, San Diego, CA) A federal court has issued a ruling that the City of San Diego is prohibited from harassing or dispersing the seal colony at Casa Beach in La Jolla. This negates the city's proposal to drive the seals from the beach using recording of barking dogs or other means. Read the story here. To read all links and articles on this issue, please click here.
WESTPORT SEA LION SHOT WITH ARROW (May 23, 2009) A male California sea lion has been spotted at a Grays Harbor marina with an arrow in his side. A $2500 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest. For story and video, click here.
JUDGE: SEALS MUST LEAVE LAJOLLA CHILDREN'S POOL (May 27, 2009, San Diego, CA) A Superior Court judge has given the city of San Diego two weeks to devise a plan to remove a colony of seals from a La Jolla beach. The city plans to use recorded dog barks and possible water cannons to remove the seals from the established rookery. For article and video, please click here. To read all links and articles on this issue, please click here.
HOW TO MOVE THE SEALS? DOG RECORDINGS (May 23, 2009, Sand Diego, CA) According to the San Diego Union, the city of San Diego plans to broadcast the sound of barking dogs from 6am until dark every day in order to disperse a seal colony at Children's Pool beach in the affluent community of La Jolla. If the recordings fail to drive out the seals, the city will begin to spray water on the animals. The annual estimated cost for this proposed removal of the seals is $688,934. A state law is awaiting approval for a decision on whether the seals should be allowed to remain on the beach and establish a protected marine mammal park. Read the article here. To read all links and articles on this issue, please click here.
EUROPEAN UNION PARLIAMENT PASSES IMPORT BAN ON SEAL PRODUCTS (May 5, 2009, Stasbourg, France, AP) The European Parliament voted to ban imports of seal producs Tuesday, trying to force Canada to end its annual seal hunt, which animal rights groups have critcized as barbaric. The EU assembly overwhelmingly endorsed a bill that said commercial seal hunting, notably in Canada, is "inherently inhumane." Read the full story here.
SEAL SLAUGHTER CRUELTY CONTINUES IN CANADA (April 21, 2009, HSUS) On Tuesday, Humane Society International/Canada released new footage from Canada's 2009 commercial seal kill at a press conference with Senator Mac Harb, the first Canadian parliamentarian to introduce a bill to end the seal hunt. Observers documented numerous cases of extreme cruelty, including apparent violations of Canada's Marine Mammal Regulations. Read the story here. Puget Sound activists from PETA, Northwest Animal Rights Network (NARN), IFAW and HSUS protested Tuesday at the Canadian Consulate in Seattle, calling for an end to the killing (photo). To read more about the Canada seal hunt and to sign petitions protesting the slaughter, click here.
SWIMMING IN CONTROVERSY, SEA LION C265 IS FIRST TO BE KILLED (April 17, 2009, The Oregonian) Last month, "C265" became the first Californina sea lion legally euthanized by the government since the marine mammal protection act passed nearly 40 years ago. Read the story of why this sea lion, who ate approximately 43 salmon in one year out of roughly 85,000 which passed through the fish ladder at Bonneville Dam, was killed. For all links and articles regarding this issue, please click here. SACRAMENTO STEPS INTO THE CHILDREN'S POOL SEALS DEBATE (April 14, 2009, San Diego) A California state Senate committee signed legislation Tuesday to block the court ordered removal of a colony of harbor seals from a LaJolla beach. The action is one step closer to declaring the beach a designated marine mammal habitat and ending decades of legal battles between the city and animal protectionists. Read the story here. To read more about the controversy and the harbor seals that reside and give birth here, please click here. CANADA SEAL HUNT BEGINS AMID CONTROVERSY (March 23, 2009) Canada's annual seal hunt began Monday in expectation of the killing of 338,200 harp seals for pelts this season alone. Read the story here. To read more about the Canada seal hunt and to sign petitions protesting the slaughter, click here.
SLAUGHTER OF SEALS IN RUSSIA STOPPED BY PUTIN (March 20, 2009, London Times) Russia has banned the hunting of defenseless baby seals. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said, "This is a bloody business and it's clear that it needs to be stopped. Read the story here. To read more about the Canada seal hunt and to sign petitions protesting the slaughter, click here.
FIRST SALMON-EATING SEA LION KILLED AT BONNEVILLE DAM (March 12, 2009, The Oregonian) Wildlife officials euthanized a salmon-eating sea lion at Bonneville Dam for the first time Thursday, killing it with a lethal injection after a health examination determined it couldn't be relocated to a zoo or aquarium. The California sea lion -- branded C265 -- is thought to be the first deliberately killed by a Northwest government agency. Marine mammals received legal protection under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Read the complete story here. For all links and articles regarding this issue, please click here.
U.S. NAVY SEEKS TO BOOST PRACTICE EXERCISES OFF WEST COAST (March 8, 2009, Seattle Times) The U.S. Navy seeks to increase training exercises utilizing bombs, missiles and torpedoes off the West Coast and Puget Sound area. Environmentalists, scientists and lawmakers are demanding a review of the impact on marine mammals. Read the story here.
BONNEVILLE DAM SEA LIONS FACE CAGES OR SHARPSHOOTERS (February 27, 2009, The Oregonian) Wildlife officials will resume trapping of salmon-eating California sea lions at Bonneville Dam as soon as Monday. A federal appeals court raised the stakes Thursday when it denied a request from the Humane Society of the United States to block Washington, Oregon and Idaho from killing as many as 85 sea lions a year. "As of this point they have permission to go out there and start killing," said Sharon Young, marine issues field director for the Humane Society of the United States. Read the complete story here with video clip. For all links and articles regarding this issue, please click here. COURT WON'T STOP PLAN TO TRAP BONNEVILLE SEA LIONS (February 26, 2009, Seattle PI) A federal appeals court has refused to issue a stay sought by the Humane Society of the United States which would prevent sea lions being trapped and killed at the Bonneville Dam on the Washington and Oregon border. Trapping may begin as early as Monday. Read the complete story here. For all links and articles regarding this issue, please click here.
SEALS WIN ROUND OVER CHILDREN'S POOL IN LA JOLLA (February 17, 2009, Los Angeles Times) Pro-seal activists won a major round for the seals today as the San Diego City Council agreed to ask for protected marine mammal habitat to Casa Beach in La Jolla, Ca. Read the LA Times article here. For a report from KGTV10 in San Diego, including video and related archived stories, please click here.
PRO-SEAL FACTION HOPES FOR VICTORY IN LAJOLLA BEACH DISPUTE (February 16, 2009, Los Angeles Times) A group fighting for the rights of seals to remain on a beach in La Jolla, Ca, are hoping for a San Diego City Council victory. The advocates want the state Legislature to add "marine mammal habitat" to the Casa Beach uses. The cove is one of the last remaining harbor seal rookeries along the Southern California coast. Read the full LA Times article here. To read more about the controversy and the harbor seals that reside and give birth here, please click here. RESCUED SEA LIONS MAKE THEIR WAY BACK TO THE OCEAN (February 16, 2009, Los Angeles Times) Two California sea lions who developed a deep friendship while being rehabilitated at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, Ca, were released back to the ocean today. Read the story and see video here.
NAVY'S PLAN TO USE DOLPHINS IN PUGET SOUND HAS ACTIVISTS HOT UNDER THE COLLAR (AND KNITTING SWEATERS) (February 15, 2009, Los Angeles Times) Local activists voiced opposition to the US Navy's plan to use dolphins and sea lions for defense purposes in Puget Sound. Read the story here.
NAVY STILL WANTS DOLPHINS, SEA LIONS TO PATROL KITSAP WATERS (January 26, 2009) According to the Kitsap Sun, the US Navy has resurfaced a proposal to have dophins and sea lions patrol Puget Sound waters as a line of defense against terror. The public is invited to make comments on February 11 and 12. Read more here.
UNITED KINGDOM TO IMPOSE TOTAL BAN ON SHOOTING SEALS (December 29, 2008) Recent statistics released have revealed that seal populations declined by 56% between 2000 and 2007 in the United Kingdom, with a 25% decrease in last year alone. Read more here.
HARBOR SEALS DECLINE ‘ALARMING’ (December 2, 2008) Scientists from St. Andrews report that harbor seals are vanishing in the UK at an alarming rate. Read the full BBC report here.
JUDGE OKAYS PLAN TO KILL SEA LIONS AT BONNEVILLE DAM (November 26, 2008) A federal judge says state governments can proceed with plans to kill up to 85 California sea lions a year for five years in the Columbia River at Bonneville Dam. Read the story here. For all links and articles regarding this issue, please click here.
OCEAN ANIMAL EMERGENCY: MARINE MAMMAL CENTER FEATURED IN DOCUMENTARY (November 25, 2008) "Part emergency room, part rehab facility, and part research lab, the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California means the difference between life and death for sick and injured ocean animals. NOVA takes you inside this very special ER to witness the efforts of a renowned team of wildlife veterinarians as they fight to save their animal patients as well as to uncover the cause of a mysterious neurological illness plaguing marine mammals like California sea lions and harbor seal pups." View the entire documentary here. SCOTTISH SEAL POPULATIONS PLUMMET (October 2008) Advocates for Animals has renewed its call on the Scottish Government to end the killing of seals in Scottish waters as new research shows a frightening fall in the numbers of common (harbor) seals around the coast. Read more here. CANCER KILLING 'SIGNIFICANT' NUMBER OF CALIFORNIA SEA LIONS A disproportionate number of California sea lions are dying from cancer according to the Marine Mammal Center in Laguna, California. Read the story here.
EUROPEAN COMMISSION MOVES TOWARD BAN ON SEAL PRODUCTS (July 23, 2008) The Humane Society commends European Commission for adopting a proposal to ban commercial seal hunts. Read more here.
SEAL PUP FOUND IN BACK OF CAR DIES (August 14, 2008) The same seal pup “rescued” from Whidbey Island beaches on two separate occasions by two different people has died. Federal officers are turning the case over to prosecutors and fines could be as high as $10,000 per person. Read more below: “Seal pup found in the back seat of a car dies”
SEA LION ON WASHINGTON FAMILY’S BOAT MAY BE POISONED BY ALGAE (August 6, 2008) A California sea lion that hauled out on a Washington family’s boat may be suffering the effects of toxins from algae, causing aggression and disorientation. Read the story by clicking the link below: “Sea lion that climbed on boat may be poisoned”
WANT TO HELP A BEACHED SEAL PUP? LEAVE IT ALONE (July 31, 2008) The Central Puget Sound Marine Mammal Stranding Network says if you see an apparently abandoned seal pup on the beach, stay away. It is normal for a pup to be alone on the beach while mom is away. Read more here.
REWARD OFFERED AFTER SIX PROTECTED SEA LIONS ARE KILLED (May 2008) The Humane Society of the United States is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for killing six federally protected sea lions on the Columbia River. Read the story here. For all links and articles regarding this issue, please click here.
FEDS ALLOW SEA LION SHOOTING AT BONNEVILLE DAM (March 18, 2008) The Humane Society of the US announced strong opposition to a plan approved by National Marine Fisheries Service to allow as many as 85 California sea lions to be shot. Read the full story here: “Feds allow sea lion shooting at Bonneville Dam” For all links and articles regarding this issue, please click here.