Don’t feed deer.
Leave the moulting elephant seal alone.
Watch seal pups from afar.
They’re all pretty simple commands.
Oak Bay is pretty good to its wildlife, when some members of the public threatened an elephant seal – among the first of the season to land on Gonzales Beach to moult – neighbours started a watch group.
When baby deer started cropping up on lawns, readers asked us to remind residents to leave them alone.
Humans aren’t the only ones who love the beach as the sun shines in late spring and early summer. Even in our urban core our beaches are inundated with wildlife.
Sometimes we don’t see them lurking in the waters off shore.
Sometimes they give birth on the beach.
Starting in June, beaches all along the coast are transformed into harbour seal nurseries, as females come ashore to give birth, nurse and protect pups. Births peak in July and August, also a prime time for beach activities.
“Not all seal pups you see alone need to be rescued,” reminds Lindsaye Akhurst, manager of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.
People seem to understand.
Maternal separation is the cause of the bulk of that centre’s current 14-harbour seal patient load, and only one has an indication of human interference.
When a seal pup appeared in distress last week on our shores, Oak Bay police officers were tasked with checking it out. Residents had consulted with both our local BC Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre and the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre where the pup is currently under care.
For the most part, we get it.
They’re wild animals and should be left to their ways.
Unless they’re orphaned or injured. In the case of the baby seal at Sunny Lane, Oak Bay did the right thing, and our police officers got to do something a little different from the routine.
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