This Baby Seal Tragically Died After A Woman Took Him Home. But It's Happening Again And Again

21/7/2016

For most people, the holidays are one of the best parts of the year, and you'll try to remember them forever by bringing home some special souvenirs.However, there are certain things which should never become souvenirs.When a woman found a seal pup in Westport, Washington, in May of this year, she decided to take him home with her in a shopping bag, believing that he had been abandoned.

Source: @AP

But Michael Milstein of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) told ABC News that the woman "realized she really didn't know what to do for it or how to take care of it" and called up Westport Aquarium for help.But by the time they arrived, the seal was lethargically spread out across the deck, and picking him up was "like picking up a sleeping human baby" according to aquarium director Marc Myrsell.Heartbreakingly, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife decided that they couldn't take the pup back to the beach. Instead, the kindest thing was to euthanise the seal.It's a tragic fact that this year, there have already been at least four incidents of seals being illegally picked up in this area.

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Source: @OregonStateUniversity

When this happens, the seals actually end up in a worse position than they were in the first place. A human can never replace a seal's real mother, who is often not far off waiting for her pup.A similar case occurred in Garibaldi, Oregon, earlier this year. A couple believed that the seal had been abandoned, putting him in their car and into their shower once home. Though the seal was soon taken back to the beach, he was found dead the next day.There's an important lesson to be learnt here: sometimes, we humans just need to step back. However tempting it may be to come to the "aid" of a lone baby seal, it's best not to interfere and to let nature take its own course.

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Source: @Jonathan Hayward/ The Canadian Press

In a recent press release, the NOAA confirms:

The best thing people can do to help marine mammals on the beach is to leave them alone, staying 100 yards away, if possible. Disturbing, feeding or attempting to move young seals or other marine mammals is illegal because it can stress the animals, interfere with their natural behavior and cause adult seals to abandon their pups.

With this in mind, the NOAA has launched the Share the Shore campaign to remind holidayers of the dangers of disturbing or moving marine mammals. Watch their guidelines below:

If you find an animal and think he's in trouble, call the NOAA hotline on 800-853-1964.For more information on looking after marine life responsibly, see the NOAA site by clicking here.

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