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Mile 196 Report
June 9, 2012
My COASST survey partner, Bert Johnstone, and I came across this seal while on our survey Saturday the 9th of June.
My COASST survey partner, Bert Johnstone, and I came across this seal while on our survey Saturday the 9th of June. It was on an open expanse of beach, ocean-side of the wrack, at low tide. It was undisturbed aside from a few bird footprints in the sand around it. I truly thought it had been shot, both in its rear end and its head; it surely looked that way. There was blood spattered from the impact of the head wound, and the head was lying in a pool of blood. There was a wound in the genital area, but no spatter of blood, so I thought maybe that shot had come first, the seal had tried to make its escape, and then was shot in the head. The seal looked healthy and well-fed. I emailed my photos and my suspicions to Jim Rice at the Marine Mammal Institute at OSU, who, a couple days later, performed a necropsy on the seal and happily found no evidence of gunshots. I was really surprised; I've seen many dead seals on the beach, but none before with this kind of trauma. Jim suspects that the trauma was probably caused by natural predators, most likely turkey vultures. I had no idea they would attack with such force! But I'm glad it wasn't human predators.
Temperature: 60 F. Cloud Cover: Sunny. Wind Velocity: Moderate. Wind Direction: SW. Tide Level: -0.6 feet.
Number of people: 30. Number of dogs: 10.
Total dead birds: 10. Sooty Shearwaters, Murres, a Scoter
Stranded Marine Mammals
Total stranded mammals: 1. Dead Seal
Seaweeds and seagrass, Wood pieces.
All Mile 196 Reports
Considering the strong tides of winter and some recent westerly winds debris on the beach is relatively light.