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Friday, January 13, 2012

Rare Seal Sighting

Orca Network supporter Matthew Cleland sighted this rare "Ribbon Seal" a North Pacific species, on a dock in the Duwamish River. 

It may look like a misplaced couch cushion, but it is actually considered a "species of concern" by the National Marine Fisheries.  It is also a concern as to why this creature that normally frequents the far North Pacific and Arctic Ocean got to this spot? They are "one of nine species of seal that inhabit the Arctic".

Fun Fact from NMF siteWhile on ice, ribbon seals will run across using alternating front legs and swinging their hindquarters rather than using caterpillar movement like most seals.

Here's hoping this wayward creature finds it's way back home.

Ribbon Seal 

(Histriophoca fasciata)

ph credit - Matthew Cleland

Matthew Cleland with APHIS submitted this photo of a ribbon seal, sighted on a dock in the Duwamish river yesterday, January 11th. NOAA Fisheries NW Region Marine Mammal Stranding Specialist Kristin Wilkinson asks that any sightings of this seal be reported to her at or 206-526-4747. 
Ribbon seals inhabit the North Pacific Ocean, specifically the Bering and Okhotsk Seas, and parts of the Arctic Ocean, including the Chukchi, eastern Siberian, and western Beaufort Seas. NOAA lists them as a "Species of Concern" - more can be learned about their life history, habitat, distribution,threats, conservation efforts and regulatory review at

Range of Ribbon Seals
credit - NMFS

Ribbon Seal in normal
Arctic habitat
cr - NMFS

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