It’s Harbor Seal Pupping Season in Pacific Grove, California!

by Carolyn Sotka

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Photo from The Harbor Seals of Pacific Grove

If you are in the Monterey area over the next few weeks you may be able to catch a momma harbor seal giving birth to a new pup! Witness the miracle of birth at the 5th Street Rookery or at the Hopkins Marine Station Beach. If you can’t make it in person, check out the The Harbor Seals of Pacific Grove Facebook page for beautiful videos and a glimpse into the first moments of a harbor seal pup’s life.

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Watch the video of the one of the many births at Hopkins Beach here.

Harbor seals were not always present in Monterey. After years of intensive hunting, harbor seals returned to Monterey for the first time in more than a century in 1967. By spring of 1997, at least thirty moms gave birth at Hopkins Marine Station, the first pupping to be witnessed in Monterey since California belonged to Mexico. Today, these seal populations are one of the largest in California due to protected shores through series of marine reserves such as the Lovers Point – Julia Platt State Marine Reserve

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Photo by Kim. M. Worrell and The Harbor Seals of Pacific Grove

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Photo by Kim. M. Worrell and The Harbor Seals of Pacific Grove

I once had the privilege of calling these shores home, and I could open the back door of our office at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station directly onto ‘seal beach’. Dr. Steve Palumbi and I chronicled our fascination with the area in our book The Death and Life of Monterey Bay: A Story on Revival –  a natural and cultural history including all the marine mammals of the Bay.

The Death and Life of Monterey Bay: A Story on Revival can be bought as hardcover, paperback,  e-book or audiobook at Island Press or on Amazon.  Hope you enjoy the videos and happy pupping season! –CS

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