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Even though Summer is just a memory, hardy beach goers may still have the opportunity to see ocean wildlife.  Just be certain to keep a safe distance from any animals you might encounter.

harbor seal

 

That cute little harbor seal on the beach is protected.  The Marine Mammal Protection Act  and its associated regulations  makes it illegal to feed or harass any marine mammal.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explains  that feeding marine mammals can cause them to lose their natural wariness of humans and alter their normal behaviors.  Their health may be further jeopardized by feeding food that is contaminated, spoiled or otherwise inappropriate.  “Harassment” can be actively pursuing or annoying a marine mammal as well as anything that might change its behavior patterns such as attempting to move our cute harbor seal back into the water.

IFAW sign protecting seal

If you believe a marine mammal is in distress, you can report it to NOAA and they will dispatch a team to evaluate the situation.

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