Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pups numbers are up

About 4,600 weaned pups are on the beach preparing to leave for their first migration. That's an increase of about 5 percent over 2011's breeding season.

Not every pup survives. About 6 percent died before they were weaned. That's low. The mild weather was a factor. No wild storms pushed waves high on the beach to wash young pups, unable to swim, into the surf. By the time pups are weaned, they are ready to start coping with the ocean. These are animals that spend most of their lives deep under water.

More seals were born at both ends of the rookery, but none past either end. That's good news. The rookery already has expanded to Arroyo Laguna, which means they share the beach with wind-surfers. Human-seal interactions aren't advisable.

"There was no expansion of the breeding range along the coast," reported Brian Hatfield, US Geological Survey wildlife biologist.

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