A young harbor seal pup rests his head on the deck of a boat and looks up at the people aboard.
Two of them had cared for him for almost three months. They had fed, nursed and rehabilitated him.
The other four he had met for the first time that day. They had volunteered their time to safely release him into his natural habitat.
They also wore blue uniforms.
Coast Guard Auxiliary members teamed up with the Progressive Animal Welfare Society to release a rehabilitated harbor seal pup into the wild near Everett, Wash., this fall.
It was the second time Mike and Shirley Allert, members of Auxiliary Flotilla-12 in Edmonds, Wash., had volunteered the use of their vessel, The Glimfeather, to release a seal pup.
The Auxiliary, comprised entirely of volunteers, supports various Coast Guard missions, including marine environmental protection.
“Working with PAWS has been an enjoyable and worthwhile experience,” said Mike Allert. “We’re always ready to help. That’s what the Coast Guard Auxiliary is all about.”
Members of PAWS originally reached out to the Auxiliary last year after one member attended a boating safety class given by Flotilla-12. The Allerts assisted in the release of a harbor seal on Nov. 20, 2012, after it had been rehabilitated by the PAWS Wildlife Center.
The Progressive Animal Welfare Society is a regional, non-profit organization headquartered in Lynnwood, Wash. Founded in 1967, PAWS’s missions include rehabilitation of injured and orphaned wildlife, shelter and adoption of homeless cats and dogs, and education of the general public about the fair treatment of animals.
The PAWS Wildlife Center aims to rehabilitate sick, injured and orphaned wildlife and restore them to full health before returning them to their natural habit. Harbor seals are the primary marine mammals treated at the center.
On Sep. 25, 2013, the Allerts welcomed a harbor seal pup, two members of PAWS, Kevin Mack and Stephanie Herman, and fellow Auxiliarists Ty Tabor and Jim Neff aboard The Glimfeather.
The seal pup had been rescued from a beach near a marina in Everett on July 11, 2013. After being cared for at the PAWS Wildlife Center for eleven weeks, personnel determined he was ready to be released back into the wild.
The crew released the pup near Jetty Island, just north of Everett.
At first, the pup stayed close to the vessel, even attempting to climb back aboard. After a few minutes, the crew watched him swim away.
The PAWS members were thankful for the help.
“The Coast Guard Auxiliary is a wonderful organization to work with,” said Mack, “I would love to work with them again in the future!”