Alert: Famous Seal is Still Living in Saugerties, NY
There are certain things you expect to see in the Esopus creek, with fish, turtles, and even migrating eels calling this Hudson River estuary home. There's a larger animal, however, that has claimed the hearts of Hudson Valley residents.
Harbor seal number 246 has reportedly been spotted once again in Saugerties, NY, frolicking without a care in the world. While a seal might seem like a bit of a fish-out-of-water in Hudson Valley waters, this adorable mammal has a very special history.
Harbor Seal in Saugerties, NY
"Saw a seal while kayaking today in Saugerties! This is presumably the famous Harbor Seal No. 246!", said a recent post to a community Facebook page. The video (below) shows the Hudson Valley's favorite mammal splashing in the water seemingly without a care in the world.
Harbor Seals in the Esopus Creek Estuary
As the post hinted, this is far from the first time a seal was spotted in this part of the Esopus creek. Seal number 246 has actually called Saugerties, NY home for several years. In March of 2020, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) posted the first sighting of the adorable pinniped (below) along with a helpful message to Hudson Valley residents.
How the NYS DEC Manages Wildlife Populations
Much of the research done by the NYS DEC relies on help from the surrounding community. Similarly to how New York land owners were recently asked for help getting a better understanding of expanding bobcat populations in the state, the DEC also encourages the community to report any local seal sightings as well. From the DEC:
Please help DEC researchers and managers better understand the occurrence and distribution of sea mammals and sea turtles by reporting your sightings here: https://on.ny.gov/33hZDXV. If you see an injured or entangled marine animal in New York, please do not interfere with it. Instead, call the NYS 24-Hour Stranding Hotline at 631-369-9829.
What to Do if You See a Seal in New York
New Yorkers who are lucky enough to spot a seal are asked to keep their distance, staying at least 50 yards away at all times. Not only is it helpful for the animals' stress levels, it's also the law. Seals, along with other marine mammals like whales and dolphins, are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.