It’s the season of baby animals, and in areas where wildlife and humans coexist, it’s the season of people finding baby animals out on their own, and wildlife rescues scrambling to aid those critters.
For one good Samaritan near Loleta, California, it was no baby bird or bunny that needed help: It was a baby seal.
And that baby seal was far from home, on the road and in harm’s way.
“On the evening of May 28, 2022, the CHP Humboldt Communications Center (HCC) received a report of a stranded a seal pup in the roadway at the 2400 block of Hookton Road, north of Loleta, ” the California Highway Patrol – Humboldt posted on Facebook.
A good Samaritan called for help and then stayed with the baby seal, directing traffic and making sure the pup stayed safe until authorities arrived.
A CHP patrol sergeant arrived and realized the pup wasn’t even headed in the right direction — as it continued to move farther inland.
The Northcoast Marine Mammal Center was contacted, and soon a volunteer arrived to assess the poor creature.
The volunteer was able to tell that the pup needed more help than simply being returned to the water, so the seal was loaded up and taken to the center for expert care.
“A Marine Mammal Center volunteer determined the seal pup was approximately one year old and appeared in danger and malnourished,” the post continued. “The Marine Mammal Center safely transported the seal pup to their center in Crescent City for treatment and observation.
“The volunteer asked for the seal pup’s name to which the sergeant predictably named him ‘Chipper.'”
The name, a reference to the nickname given to CHP officers, stuck. The CHP – Humboldt post wished the little seal the best and shared some of the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center’s tips on dealing with misplaced wildlife — tips that are relevant for many kinds of wildlife interactions.
“Do not go near a stranded or injured seal or sea lion,” the post said. “Bites can be severe.
“Do not disturb or try to chase it into the water. Animals may simply be resting or molting and not need help.
“Observe from a distance and keep people and pets away.
“If an animal does appear to be sick, injured or abused, note the exact location, including land marks, and call the North Coast Marine Mammal Center at (707)951-4722.
“Most seal pups are not abandoned. Their mothers are just out feeding and will return, unless your presence scares them off.”
The center itself posts regular updates on all its adorable charges.
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