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.