Northern Oregon/Southern Marine Mammal Stranding Network:
In 1998, the Seaside Aquarium and Portland State University officially founded the Northern Oregon/Southern Washington Marine Mammal Stranding Network. This organization responds to all sightings of dead or injured marine mammals and record their location, as well as any other useful information and interesting observations about the animal in question.
Additionally, the Seaside Aquarium also provides education on native marine life for both locals and visitors alike. This education can range anywhere from what the animals look like and how large they are, to specific survival methods, habits, and mating rituals. Most importantly, this education can reduce the number of seal pups taken from the beach. This often happens when people find seal pups alone on the beach and believe them to have been abandoned by their mothers. Instead, the pups are almost always on the beach because their mother is hunting and intends on returning to feed her offspring while keeping them out of harm’s way.
In the event of a beached seal or sea lion, we will place warning signs around them to create a safe parameter and informs the public that the animal is in need of rest while officials monitor its behavior. In this event, beach goers and their pets are highly encouraged to keep their distance, as this could lead to potential problems for all parties involved, including the beached mammal. More often than not, the animal is perfectly healthy and is only in need of rest before it returns to the sea. As mentioned above, it could also be a pup that is waiting for its mother to return with food.
By law, an injured or sick seal or sea lion cannot be rehabilitated in the state of Oregon. The state’s policy is to minimize disturbance from people and let nature take its course. Endangered species, such as the Guadalupe fur seal, are exempt from this state policy and can be treated for their injuries or illnesses. In 2017, the Seaside Aquarium was involved in the rescuing of two Guadalupe fur seals; one adult and one juvenile.
In the event that a marine mammal washes ashore dead or dies on the beach, the Seaside Aquarium helps to arrange a necropsy with Portland State University Biologist, Dr. Debbie Duffield. The necropsy serves as a learning experience on the anatomy of the animal in question, with the primary goal of learning how it died.
The Seaside Aquarium is proud of its commitment towards preservation and education regarding the northern Oregon coastal wildlife and ecology. As such, we serve as a south county hub for dropping off and picking up injured wildlife, while providing any and all support we can give to the animal before it is transported to the Wildlife Center of the North Coast.
The Wildlife Center of the North Coast are based in Astoria, Oregon, east on Highway 202. They specialize in the rehabilitation of injured birds, but they can be contacted for any injured coastal wildlife. They accept donations and are always looking for volunteers, and provide training for those who join. If you find an injured animal on the beach, you may contact the Wildlife Center at (503) 338-0331. If you are interested in volunteer work, you may contact them with the same phone number or via email at email@example.com. For more information, visit their website at http://www.coastwildlife.org