Our last blog described how Don was “adopted” by a harbor seal pup. The pup, apparently orphaned, tried to get into his kayak, followed him 1.5 miles through the water next to the boat back to Mallard Cove, where it came onto shore and tried to nurse from his grey rubber boot, which was glistening wet and probably looked like the pup’s mother’s body.
So, this sequel will describe what, if anything, Don did to help the seal, who was very hungry and too young to eat fish. It was dusk, too late to paddle all the way back to the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, where the seal had adopted Don’s boat. It is not recommended to touch or feed an orphaned seal. The pup will either survive, most often by being adopted by another mother, or it will perish. Local wildlife agencies are not keen to help because harbor seals are plentiful and not endangered.
That being said, and all academic guidance aside, with direct eye contact between the pup and Don, it was difficult to do nothing. Don is not admitting to ignoring the guidance of scholarly wildlife experts. However, if you ever visit The Inn at Mallard Cove, you may ask Don the following question: “Do you think that orphaned harbor seal pups like warmed organic whole milk?”
After, shall we say, a little quality time on the beach at sunset, Don splashed the receding water with his grey boot to encourage the pup to swim away before low tide. Then he went up to the inn and worried all night. At sunrise the next morning Don was down on the beach for a look. The pup was gone, and there was no evidence of predation.
Subsequent kayaking trips (and there have been many), have been serenaded by a single pup’s high-pitched call from way out in the sound. Don would like to think he hears that particular pup saying hello.
Like is good here at Mallard Cove.