Yesterday we attended a four-hour seal docent training about the two harbor seal rookeries at The Sea Ranch. There is a very robust all-volunteer docent program that works the two rookeries during pupping season. Since we will be up here during the pupping time, we decided to volunteer.
As docents our role is to educate visitors and divers on the issue and to try to keep disruptions to the seal mamas and pups to as much of a minimum as possible. There will also be some observing/documenting on our shifts.Shifts will start in a few weeks and run through June. That covers the period of birth and weaning for the majority of the seals that haul out in this area. Until that time, we have a binder of all sorts of information to learn. We've already been warned that 10 percent of the pups born on the beach will not make it (some years the mortality is higher), and that about 50 percent don't make it to the age of one ... so there is surely going to be some sad time mixed in with the all the fun seal pup viewing. As appropriate, I'll try to take photos and share on this blog.