A Seal's Second Chance

Release day is usually the last time PAWS wildlife staff members see or hear about their patients. Many animals are equipped with bands or tags, but these visual markers are generally small, easily overlooked, and nearly impossible to read from a distance. Even animals who are equipped with radio or satellite collars are almost never seen.

That’s how it should be. We know we did our job well if the animals we release keep their distance from humans, but sometimes, we get a glimpse of their success.

Harbor Seal #12-1907 was brought to PAWS as a sickly pup on July 30, 2012, and released as a healthy juvenile on October 2. The seal was released at Still Harbor on McNeil Island, but she apparently caught the travel bug. On January 24, Robin Lindsey of the West Seattle Seal Sitters contacted PAWS with the news that she had seen and photographed our former patient at Jack Block Park in West Seattle. This park is roughly 30 miles away as the crow flies, and considerably farther as the seal swims, from the release site.

According to Robin, the seal looked relaxed and healthy. She was behaving normally and keeping company with others of her kind. Wild and free, this seal is living her life as if she had never needed PAWS’ care. In other words, the best possible news we could have ever received.

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