harbor seals

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After receiving months of care at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Center, seven rehabilitated Harbor Seal pups poked their noses out of their transport kennels and wiggled down to the waters of Howe Sound on the morning of November 20. Five of the rescued seal pups were outfitted with satellite-linked transmitters, which will provide valuable data to the aquarium’s veterinary team regarding the seal pups’ travel patterns and progress following their release.

In the water, the transmitters don’t weigh anything, and the seals don’t seem to be bothered by them at all! They aren’t invasive; no part of the animal has been punctured or any pain caused. They will fall off by the time the animals molt next spring, if not before. When the animals move, the antennas point backwards, and so they don’t affect the seals’ ability to swim.The transmitters are the result of decades of collaboration between veterinarians, biologists, engineers, and programmers. Photo credits: Vancouver Aquarium via Zooborns

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We round out the #mypubliclandsroadtrip coastal stops with Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area in Oregon

Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area extends out from the Oregon coast, one mile into the Pacific Ocean. Standing 93 feet tall at the westernmost point of the basalt headland, the lighthouse has guided ships and their supplies along the west coast since 1873.  Last year, the Yaquina Head Lighthouse underwent a preservation project that lasted about 90 days.  You can view a time-lapse of the work, day by day.

The offshore islands are a year-round refuge for harbor seals and a spring-summer home for thousands of nesting seabirds. Gray whales can be spotted during their annual migrations to Mexico (late fall-early winter) and Alaska (late winter-early spring). During the summer months, some gray whales take the opportunity to feed in the shallow waters around the headland.

Cobble Beach is compiled of millions of round basalt rocks that produce an applause-like sound as the waves roll in. When the tide is low a vibrant ocean floor is revealed—pools of colorful animals including orange sea stars, purple sea urchins, and giant green anemones.

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Kicking off National Wildlife Day - an annual event on September 4 - with beautiful photos from the BLM-managed Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area along the California Coast.

Built in 1875 as a safety aid to mariners, the light station once cast a flashing, oil-flame light 25 miles out to sea, warning ship captains to steer clear of the white rocks, or Piedras Blancas in Spanish. Today, the light station casts a beacon to travelers on scenic California Highway 1.

The waters off Piedras Blancas boast an incredible number of marine mammals. Sea otters live and forage in the kelp. Harbor seals and sea lions rest on the offshore rocks. Elephant seals rest, molt, give birth and breed on the beaches. A variety of whales may be seen, including the California gray whale migrating offshore during the winter and spring. Many marine bird species roost on the large offshore rocks, and the sounds of sea lions barking and elephant seals trumpeting fill the air.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the area and its wildlife and to plan a visit.

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This poor seal. JUST LET HIM ON THE SURFBOARD, MAN.

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A harbor seal’s-eye view