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Baby seal dies after woman carried it home from beach in plastic bag

In this May 21, 2016, photo provided by the Westport Aquarium, a baby seal is seen laying across a shopping tote used to carry it off a beach in Westport, Wash. State wildlife officials had to euthanize the harbor seal pup after it was determined to be unresponsive and lethargic. As harbor seals are being born in the Pacific Northwest this time of year, marine mammal advocates are urging people not to touch or pick up pups that come up on beaches and shorelines to rest. At least five times this season, well-meaning people have illegally picked up seal pups in Oregon and Washington thinking they were abandoned or needed help, but that interference ultimately resulted in two deaths, said Michael Milstein, a spokesman with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

A baby seal had to be put down after a woman carried it home from the beach in a plastic bag.

According to officials, when the woman saw the harbor seal pup in Westport, Washington state, she mistakenly thought it had been abandoned and decided to take it home with her.

‘She then took it home and realized she really didn’t know what to do for it or how to take care of it,’ Michael Milstein, from the US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told ABC news.

The woman called the local aquarium, Westport Aquarium, to come and rescue the seal pup – but by the time they arrived it was on the woman’s deck, ‘alive but extremely lethargic’.

‘Usually these animals will snap and struggle to get away if you try to approach them, but this pup was so lethargic,’ the aquarium’s director Marc Myrsell said.

‘Putting him in the carrier to take him to a center was like picking up a sleeping human baby.’

He, along with officials from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, had hoped to return the pup to the beach – but it was ‘so unresponsive, and so much time had gone by’ that they had to euthanize it instead.

The incident happened in May, but the pup’s tragic death only came to light when the NOAA issued a statement this week reminding locals not to pick up wildlife.




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Sydney Chesterfield

Poet, Playwright, Philosopher, Humanitarian, mad lover of children and unflinching fighter for equality on all grounds viz. Women's rights, child rights, sine die.

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