A juvenile elephant seal on West Vancouver’s Ambleside beach is causing a lot of concern, but according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, it is all part of a normal moulting process and the public should give the animal distance and respect.
This means keeping away from the barricaded area and keeping dogs far away from the animal. The seal, which may appear sickly and in distress, is actually going through a normal process. The only real danger it faces is stress caused by humans, children and their dogs who should not approach the animal for various safety reasons.
PLEASE do this animal a favour and let him be. Let’s work together and encourage others to leave it alone to go through this uncomfortable yet natural process. Please make your neighbours and friends aware who may use the beach and teach your children to respect nature. Thank you.
Here below is a press releases released by the District of West Vancouver late this afternoon.
Thursday, May 2, 2013, West Vancouver, BC – On Wednesday, May 1, a juvenile elephant seal appeared on the beach at Ambleside Park. While this species is unusual in this area, it is not completely out of its range.
All elephant seals spend one month each year on land to moult; they undergo what is called a “catastrophic moult” in which they shed all of their fur along with an underlying layer of skin. During this process, he may appear to be sick or injured, but this is a completely normal process. However, it does take some time, so he may remain on the beach for several weeks.
Visitors to Ambleside beach and park are asked to keep a safe distance — this normally aggressive animal is in discomfort because of the moulting process and will be more aggressive than usual. Please observe the barricaded area and keep dogs well away for their own safety. The seal may look slow and harmless, but it is capable of moving very quickly and can be dangerous if it feels threatened.