Animal group warns beachgoers to give young seals space

March 19, 2013 7:56:41 PM PDT
The seal pupping season is underway along the California coast. The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito is putting out the word to beachgoers to steer clear of the young animals.

Nineteen elephant seals are already being cared for at the Marine Mammal Center and more distressed animals are on the way from as far away as Southern California.

When the infants come in, staff feeds them through tubes placed into their stomach. Eventually that leads to a process called "fish school," where volunteers teach the elephant seals to chase, and then eat herring.

"The animal needs to know that fish are what he is interested in," volunteer Sherry Riley said.

The experts say if members of the public see one of the animals in distress, they should leave it alone. The animals are cute until they bite you. Anyone concerned about an animal possibly being in distress should call the Marine Mammal Center. They have some 200 volunteers in the area who will go out and rescue the pup if they determine that it really is in distress.