This weekend saw significant numbers of seals (94 harbor seals and 1 grey seal) hauled-out at Cupsogue Beach on a super windy Saturday April 06, 2013. The next day, a calm, spring-like day brought many people to view seals. Those that joined the organized CRESLI seal walk , as usual, got a fact-filled mini-lecture about seals, about the bays, about how to avoid disturbing seals, especially in this time of year where adult females are in their late pregnancy stages. CRESLI walks take people to an area where seals can be viewed without disturbing the seals. Unfortunately, there were other folks viewing the seals from an area too close to the shore. The well-intentioned folks didn’t understand that they were affecting the seals’ behaviors and causing them to avoid hauling out. Luckily, the seals eventually hauled out after most of the “disturbers” left. 11 hauled-out and 11 remained in the water; a far cry from the 95 a day earlier – but such is nature.
If you want to see seals, learn about them, and do so in a safe and appropriate non-disturbing manner, join one of CRESLI’s seal walks. They are led by me, a scientist, professor, and marine mammal population ecologist with decades of experience. Go to http://cresli.org/cresli/seals/sealwalk.html to finf out information and schedules. Go to http://drartiek-cresli.smugmug.com/Animals/Pinnipeds to see photographs.
Let’s make sure that we share our shore and waters with wildlife in the best possible and least intrusive ways.