West Vancouver asks people to kindly stay away from the moulting seal

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      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.


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      May 3, 2013 at 11:20am

      I am reading this and thinking...

      "oh neat, a big seal near Ambelside Park...the weekend's suppose to be nice..."oh it's moulting...and keep your dog away"...oh ya good leash park...haven't been there for awhile...well maybe Saturday...go to that Walmart and oh and that fish shop...then have a look...OH RIGHT..."

      Ya I suspect the warning might have the opposite effect?


      May 3, 2013 at 1:02pm

      If moulting is a normal process, how exactly is it "catastrophic"?


      May 3, 2013 at 4:12pm

      We have a similar situation here in Ladner when the snowy owls come down from the high Arctic during winter.

      Despite many warning signs, brochures, wild life guides etc. telling people to stay well back from the owls, people insist on getting too close for their photos.

      Many of these owls are starving and they cannot hunt with all the people on their hunting grounds or making them move when they are exhausted.

      I have gone out there to talk to people but they just pretend that they don't understand-unbeleivable.

      They are killing these birds by insisting on taking photos too close-stupid cruel people.
      With any wild animal/bird-best to stay away or well back and don't interfere.

      Martin Dunphy

      May 3, 2013 at 6:44pm


      Thanks for the question. Your answer is at the link provided at the end of the article's last sentence.