Breaking News: Good Harbor Beach Baby Harbor Seal Survives

This morning I went for an early morning walk at Good Harbor and discovered this beautiful baby Harbor Seal stranded at the high water mark. Over the next six hours it struggled to survive the world of curious humans. Fortunately, all ended well and the seal was returned to the sea. I’ll post a PSA video later in the week because a great many of the beach goers today seemed completely clueless to the fact that stranded baby seals must be left alone. I had to call the environmental police (thank you Lieutenant Roger Thurlow) to prevent this one man from actually touching the seal, despite the fact that the seal’s breathing was obviously very labored and it was terrified. Later in the morning a lifeguard appeared and kept the crowd under control. I asked for her name but the lifeguards have been instructed not to speak to the media. I hope the lifeguard sees this post because I would like to thank her–she did an absolutely awesome job keeping people from getting too close to the seal–and it wasn’t easy.

Good Harbor Beach Harbor Seal ©Kim Smith 2013

Good Harbor Beach Stranded Harbor Seal

14 thoughts on “Breaking News: Good Harbor Beach Baby Harbor Seal Survives

  1. Well done Kim Smith, these situations are never easy… we are all lucky, most importantly the seal, that you came upon it when you did.

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    1. Thank you Douglas–all credit to the lifeguard, and to Lt. Thurlow–just one glance at the officer and he departed.

      Also, Lt. Thurlow recommends to anyone interested in grabbing the seal and pushing it back into the water that seals (even cute babies) are wild animals and that they defend themselves by biting. A seal bite is worse than a dog bite.

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  2. Looks like a young harbor seal. They will haul out to rest and will stay out of the water for a few hours, or more. A call to the New England Aquarium or to IFAW’s Marine Mammal Stranding Network would also help.

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    1. Lt. Thurlow said that they typically do not call the aquarium unless the seal is injured. From a slight distance, he determined that it was probably not injured and that it just needed to rest.

      Before I got there, the coin-collecting-treasure hunter told me that when it first beached itself, several dogs chased it back into the water. The seal then beached again!

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  3. What a beautiful picture and I agree, very well done and glad you were there and then the Lt. and the lifeguard helped.

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    1. Thank you Jenn.

      Also, I don’t mean to imply that everyone was clueless. There were several families, with very young children who were very curious, but who stayed at a respectful distance the entire morning.

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  4. I just read when on the west coast that baby seals often come up on shore to rest. There is really nothing wrong with them and they need to be left alone to rest. On their own when ready they will go back in the water. One founded a rescue team of volunteers who go and sit with the seals to protect them.

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  5. Thanks for the post and thanks in advance for your pending PSA on how to handle a situation like this if you come upon one. I would have nothing but best best intentions if I happened on this little guy but I’m sure my lack of any actual knowledge on what ‘to do’ for the seal could result in doing something wrong (like trying to push it back in the water). Beautiful picture and good ‘word spreading’ thanks again.

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    1. It is human nature to want to help a seemingly helpless creature, but you are right Mandy, the best intention in the case of beached seals is the wrong thing to do. I better get to work on that psa tonight!

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