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Ribbon seal spotted far from home, on Seattle dock

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

According to the Vancouver Sun, a ribbon seal was photographed on Jan. 11 lounging on a Seattle-area dock, an exceedingly rare event.

Ribbon seals normally live in North Pacific and Arctic waters, are found in open seas and are strongly associated with sea ice. Biologists say that there has never been a recorded sighting of one in British Columbia or Washington state. But in 1962, one did find its way to California.

Peter Olesiuk, a seal specialist with the Canadian federal fisheries department, says that it's especially surprising that a seal whose species is not known for hauling out onto land would end up on a dock.

There have been no further sightings of the seal since Jan. 11, but it appeared in good health, and Kristin Wilkinson, a NOAA marine mammal stranding specialist said she expects that if it's finding food, it'll be fine.

Read more and see a photo, here.