The District of West Vancouver has issued a call for visitors to Ambleside Park to “please” stay away from a juvenile elephant seal that has taken a spot on the beach there.
According to a May 2 media release, the seal is experiencing a “catastrophic moult,” which involves a shedding of all fur and an underlying layer of skin. The process could keep the seal on the beach in West Vancouver for several weeks, during which time the animal will be more aggressive than usual, the district warned.
“He may appear to be sick or injured, but this is a completely normal process,” the release states. “However, it does take some time.”
It continues: “Visitors to Ambleside beach and park are asked to keep a safe distance….Please observe the barricaded area and keep dogs well away for their own safety. The seal may look slow and harmless, but it is capable of moving very quickly and can be dangerous if it feels threatened.”
According to a “Pacific Marine Mammal Bulletin” issued by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, an elephant seal can grow as long as five metres and weigh up to 2,300 kilograms.
Readers who wish to learn more about moulting seals can read that notice here.