SAUSALITO (CBS SF) – With the arrival of the first harbor seal pup this spring to the Marin County-based Marine Mammal Center, handlers there are reminding the public to steer clear of seal pups they see on the beach in a public education campaign called “Leave Seals Be”.

The seal pup, named Theros, is now living at the center after being rescued from San Luis Obispo last month. Theros is one of numerous abandoned seal pups the organization has saved over the years, Marine Mammal Center spokesman Jim Oswald said.

Marine mammal experts at the center want the public to leave such rescues to animal care professionals.

“We depend upon the public to be our eyes and ears so that we can rescue these animals because in many cases they do become separated from their mothers as a result of human interference, or worse, get entangled ocean trash,” said Shelbi Stoudt, the center’s stranding manager.

During their first two months of life, seal pups start venturing out on their own to forage for food, according to the Marine Mammal Center.

Trying to pick up or disturb a seal pup on the beach could prevent the animal from being reunited with its mother, which may be waiting nearby, center officials said.

Instead, the center advises anyone who spots a lone seal pup to keep at least 50 feet away and call the Marine Mammal Center’s 24-hour hotline at (415) 289-SEAL.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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