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Harbor seals are pupping at Point Reyes National Seashore

By Gary Bogue
Monday, March 3rd, 2008 at 6:38 am in Harbor seals, Point Reyes.

Point Reyes National Seashore has the largest mainland breeding colony of harbor seals in California

Resting and pupping harbor seals come onshore in various parts of the park, particularly in Tomales Bay, Tomales Point, Double Point, Drakes Estero and Bolinas Lagoon. About 100 seals congregate within the Estero and Double Point and numerous seals congregate near the mouth of Tomales Bay on tidal sand bars off Dillon beach.

From March 1 through June 30, there is an annual closure of Drakes Estero to protect the seals during this most sensitive time of year. This closure applies to kayak and canoe usage but is also applicable to surfers, wind surfers, abalone divers, and other water sport users around the harbor seal colonies in the area. The National Park Service asks visitors to avoid disturbing the seals to make sure they have a good pupping season. Seal populations will decline when they are disturbed at this time.

In 2007, about 4,000 harbor seals were counted in the area, nearly 900 of which were pups. Seals breeding at Point Reyes represents around 20 percent of the California mainland population.

To ensure the seals aren’t disturbed, visitors are asked to stay at least 100 yards away from resting seals. Never pick up a seal pup that may look abandoned. They’re just waiting for their mothers to return. Pups are about two feet long and weigh about 24 pounds. They are weaned at 30 days after birth.

Harbor seals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.

You can find out more about these interesting creatures at http://www.nps.gov/pore

Have fun! /Gary

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