by Mary Lee

SAUSALITO (KPIX 5) — Dozens of seal pups separated from their mothers in powerful surf during late winter storms in the North Bay are getting help.

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Volunteer at the Marine Mammal Center are extremely busy, scrambling to feed around 70 seal pups.

The volunteers are serving the pups about 500 pounds of fish a day.

“This time of year in the spring, it’s pupping season up-and-down the California coast. And so we see a lot of harbor seal pups, elephant seal pups that are being born,” said Marine Mammal Center staff veterinarian Dr. Cara Field. “And because they’re so young and vulnerable and their mom is easily frightened, we ask that people keep a very safe distance.”

During breakfast time at the center, volunteers serve up a special fish milkshake for the seal pups. Many of them are either sick, injured or have been separated from their mothers, primarily because of our recent storms causing a dangerous storm surge for the pups.

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“As the pups are being born we still have some powerful winter storms,” said Field. “Since they’re born on the beaches very close to the wave action, many times when the waves get very large they actually wash those smaller weaker pups off the beach. And because they are not the best swimmers yet, sometimes they are not able to make it back to land.”

Field said seal pups are coming in every day, needing special care before they can be released back into the Pacific. She said it’s important people leave seal pups alone, keeping a distance of about 50 feet.

If the mother spots people interacting with her pup, she will abandon it and the pup won’t be able to survive on its own.

The best thing to do if you see a seal pup on the beach is to call the Marine Mammal Center hotline at 415-289-SEAL.

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