Harbor Seal Pup Etiquette

The Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits harassment of seal pups on beaches.

During the months of March, April, May, and June, harbor seal pups are commonly found on Oregon’s beaches, as this is their birthing season, and they are not orphaned or abandoned.

When female seals need to find food for themselves, they sometimes leave their pups for up to 48 hours on the beach. A female seal will not return to nurse its pup if there is human activity close to where they left their pup on the beach. A pup’s best chance for survival is to be left alone. If the female seal is kept from reuniting with its pup, the pup will likely not survive.

Seals cannot move their hind legs under their bodies, so to move on land, they are limited to wiggling. They can rest in pretty pitiful looking positions, too.

Stay at least 50 yards (46 meters) away from seal pups on the beach. Getting close to a pup puts them under great stress and prevents its mother from coming ashore.

Do not touch, pour water on, attempt to feed, or approach seal pups.

Keep dogs leashed and away from seal pups.

Report incidents of harbor seal pup harassment to the non-emergency phone number of the Oregon State Police, at 800-452-7888 or *677.

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