Sonoma Coast welcomes new seal pups

Baby seals are just about the cutest thing in existence, and the Sonoma County Coast is absolutely riddled with them.

As seal pupping season reaches its peak, anyone who visits Goat Rock and other areas nearby will find an onslaught of harbor seals happily nursing their adorable little newborns.

A 2011 survey released by the National Park service reported that about 78 of the fat little cuties are born in Sonoma County each season, and no one seems to be complaining about it.

With their big round eyes and sweet demeanor, seal pups endear everyone who comes in contact with them, and people often find themselves helplessly attempting to get closer. But experts implore us humans to give the seals their space during this critical time.

Seals are naturally shy of people, and if mothers perceive a threat, they may flop away from their babies, sometimes not returning.

Pupping season begins in March and extends into June, reaching its peak during the last week of April.

Since the seal pupping season has been described as “magical” by volunteers with the Stewards of the Coasts and Redwoods’ Seal Watch program, it should be on everyone’s collective consciousness to preserve the seal’s safety and privacy by not interfering in their bonding time that lasts for four to six weeks.

It’s a safe bet that all of us have dreamed at some point of having our own baby seal to keep at home in the bathtub, occasionally letting it out to swaddle it in a blanket, but experts say to resist the overwhelming urge to approach that alarmingly cute baby seal, ideally staying at least 300 feet away from them at all times.

However, if a pup is found away from a colony, it is encouraged to notify the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito.

Of course, after the bonding period, mama seal and pup part ways, and its during this new stage in the pups’ life when people often think they have been abandoned. The Marine Mammal Center typically received about 50 to 200 calls a day during this time.