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How Your Selfies Are Killing Northern California’s Seal Puppies

During seal pupping season on the coast of Northern California, baby seals will be basking in the sunshine on the beach while their mother hunts for food. The problem is that onlookers want to get a photo with the cute, chubby mammals, which may turn out to be a big problem.



The Marine Mammal Center recently posted a picture from the Point Reyes National Seashore on their Facebook page, informing the public how taking pictures with these cute little mammals will indeed be their death sentence. Below is the photo and caption from the post:

“The selfie. 

Worst thing for seal pups since the invention of the Orca.

It’s pup season. Harbor seal moms leave pups onshore for short periods while they feed just offshore. If mom sees you or a dog near her pup (and you won’t see her watching you)……

she will abandon her pup and *won’t return after you leave.* Your “one quick selfie” cost that pup its life. Harsh, yes. Reality, yes.

This pup season, please… Leave Seals Be. Stay at least 50 feet away from marine mammals at all times. That “one quick selfie” isn’t worth that pup’s life. Is it?”




There you have it. Any interaction with a human, or even a dog, will scare off the mother, leaving the puppies to slowly starve to death alone on the beach. A very sad outcome indeed.

The post was met with an outcry to unblur the lady’s face so she can be prosecuted. But the reaction was different from the Marine Mammal Center, who said it doesn’t want to be the judge, jury and executioner, but rather use the instance to inform the public. Here is an exchange in the photo’s comment section:




This was a wonderfully teachable moment for the Marine Mammal Center, who used this viral post to inform people to leave these seal pups alone in order to save their lives. Here is the post from the Marine Mammal Center:

Pupping and molting seasons, the most vulnerable time for seal pups, take place from March to July. They take to beaches on the North Coast like Point Reyes National Seashore, and may be visible even further north.

If you see a seal in distress, call the Marine Mammal Center’s 24-hour rescue hotline, (415) 289-SEAL.

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