Kamchatka is home to five species of real seals: ringed and striped seals, antur, lakhtak and larga. Largas are the most numerous – lots of their cubs may be seen lying on the shores of the Pacific Ocean and the Avacha Bay in early summer. Not knowing the specifics of the biology and ecology of this species, some vacationers try to "save" the baby seals, thinking they got lost. Such actions may harm the cubs. So, we introduce you to the rules of behavior when meeting a seal.
Seals are marine mammals, but their life is inextricably linked with the land – they rest and reproduce themselves on land. Cubs appear during spring or early summer. They are often left alone while the mother feeds in the sea. It is QUITE NORMAL AND THEY ARE NOT LOST OR FORLORN!
"The female seal feeds its cub with very fatty milk so that it grows up as quickly as possible. Mother seals care for their cuns for a very short time. After a few weeks, depending on the species, mothers leave their cubs alone, and the baby seals begin their independent life. During this period, young seals are very vulnerable, because they need to learn how to feed themselves. Such cubs can be found on the shore at the beginning of summer. In most cases, they do not need human help, they need a quiet place to rest. Therefore, the best thing to do is to observe the cub from afar, whether he has injuries or is not entangled in plastic garbage, and protect him from anxiety from people, dogs, birds. Do not approach, do not try to touch, move or push the animal into the water. This can only do harm," warns Evgenia Volkova, a biologist and researcher at the Kronotsky State Nature Reserve.
What should you do if you find a baby seal on the coast? Experts from a number of public organizations involved in the rescue of pinnipeds in the Baltic Sea basin and in the Far East, give approximately the same list of tips:
YOU MUSTN'T: try to touch the animal, hug it, stroke it, take selfies with it, etc. Little seals are really adorable — but you are dealing with a wild animal. It can bite, and it's dangerous: the saliva of a marine mammal that gets into the blood can cause seal mycoplasmosis.
And there may also be a mother nearby who will be afraid of people and their smell and will abandon the cub — for very young seals, such a turn almost certainly means death.
YOU MUST: if possible, stay in the visibility zone and keep an eye on the baby, keep dogs and people away.
YOU MUSTN'T: by any means forcibly push the seal into the water. If the animal is on the shore, it means that it needs rest.
YOU MUST: provide some peace and rest for the nany. If everything is fine with the young seal's health, after a while it will return to the water.
YOU MUSTN'T: try to feed the animal, give milk. Human food, as well as cow's milk, is totally unsuitable for baby seals.
YOU MUST: carefully, from a distance of at least 100 m (except in cases when the observer has the opportunity to hide behind a stone or a snag) observe if there are any foreign objects on the seal. For example, there may be fragments of package or fishing gear. Entangled in this garbage, the animal loses the ability to move normally and get food. The seal must be released. However, if you are not sure that you can do this safely, it is better to seek help.
YOU MUSTN'T: wrap the animal in a blanket, put it in a basin with water, immerse it in a car and take it to the zoo, Rosprirodnadzor or even home.
YOU MUST: if a seal is entangled in foreign objects, or injured, looks sluggish, does not try to move to the water when you approach — call +7 984 164-78-94 (Anna Fedosova, veterinarian of the Crocodile veterinary clinic).
Please keep the seals safe and do them no harm!