Seal pupping season underway at Point Reyes

March 2, 2009 11:00:55 AM PST
The National Park service is reminding visitors that harbor seal pupping season is under way.

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Visitors are asked to stay at least 100 yards from the resting seals and should never pick up a seal pup that may look abandoned.

The Point Reyes National Seashore has the largest mainland colony of harbor seals in California, an estimated 20 percent of the mainland population. The seals come on shore in Tomales Bay, Tomales Point, Double Point, Drakes Estero and Bolinas Lagoon.

Drakes Estero is closed each year between March 1 and June 30 to protect the harbor seals. The closure applies to kayak and canoe usage, surfers, windsurfers, abalone divers and other water sport enthusiasts.

Research shows seal populations rapidly decline when they are disturbed during the breeding season.

Last year 4,000 harbor seals were counted and nearly 900 were pups, the National Park Service said.

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