Brian Kaloper, harbormaster at Seattle’s Elliott Bay Marina, was walking to his office on Monday morning when something caught his eye.
It was a seal on the marina’s G dock. Given that the dock is heavily traveled, Kaloper thought it was odd to see the animal there.
“When I got into my office, we turned on our security cameras to see what was going on,” he said.
Soon, Kaloper was treated to an astonishing sight. As the camera recorded, the seal gave birth to a pup, alternately laboring and taking a few breaks to rest. Immediately after the pup was born, the mother turned around and nudged its face and body, as if to make sure it was alright, then looked around the dock.
Marina staff quickly locked the door to the gate to protect the mother and baby, put up caution tape and kept the dock closed for a few hours, until the mother and newborn were back in the water. Kaloper said though marina staff are used to seeing wildlife around the facilty, the birth was astonishing to witness.
“Our staff sees plenty of seals and pups swimming about, but to catch nature in its most pure form on camera during a regular Monday was unbelievable,” he said.
Harbor seals are the most abundant marine mammal in Puget Sound. They typically give birth in July through September in southern Puget Sound, according to the Washington Department of Ecology. Adult females usually mate and give birth every year; the pups are weaned after about four weeks and can live for 25 to 30 years.