Outlook uncertain for injured seal pup

As was first reported on

last week, rescue efforts have been underway for a seal pup with a serious injury caused by a fishing line tightly wound around its neck. However, seal advocates now say the pup is likely dead.

The wounded mammal was first spotted on Sunday, July 12, when Marjane Aalam, a volunteer with the Animal Protection & Rescue League, was doing a morning count of the seal colony.

Aalam said the pup was last seen Saturday morning, July 19.

SeaWorld personnel arrived at the Children’s Pool just minutes too late to attempt a rescue on Thursday, July 17, when a loud cheer from curious onlookers spooked the pup and several other seals into the ocean.

“The news is not good,” Aalam said. “To be quite realistic, the pup has probably died. That’s outrageous because SeaWorld was ready to make a rescue. The decision not to rescue was a federal decision.”

The animal advocates have been at odds with the National Marine Fisheries Service, the agency empowered with approving rescues. Aalam said officials are using a federal law that prohibits disturbing seal rookeries as an excuse to avoid authorizing action.

Because the city of San Diego allows beachgoers to access the beach at Children’s Pool, which sometimes disturbs the seals. Aalam said the agency’s adherence to the federal law makes no sense.

Aalam called the agency’s refusal to act “negligence.”

The National Marine Fisheries Service, which did, in fact, approve a rescue attempt, was not available for comment.