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A memorable encounter with a baby seal from the St. Lawrence River



In eastern Quebec, on a beautiful sunny and windy day along the St. Lawrence River, my daughter and I had an extraordinary experience.

We found a baby seal trapped on the rocks at low tide.

Already knowing that we should avoid touching him with our hands, as this could cause him to be rejected by his community due to our human scent, we acted quickly to rescue.


Rescue and sightings:

We quickly brought a tarp from home and took a small shovel to help us transfer the baby seal to a rock crevice, forming a kind of small pool. With care, we managed to move it without too much difficulty. The pup must have been around 3 to 4 weeks old, which suggested that his mother had left him alone to learn to feed himself. We noticed an injury to his nose.


Calls for help:

While my daughter stayed with the seal to watch over it, I returned home to research how to respond in such a situation. Luckily, I had an SOS Marine Mammals sticker in my driveway, so I quickly contacted them. We spoke three times in the afternoon to discuss the situation.


Waiting and reunion:

SOS Marine Mammals experts advised me to wait for high tide to see if the mother would return for her calf. Indeed, in the distance, I could observe a small head which watched the scene. I went shopping and when I got back, the tide had risen. I could see our friend perched on the highest rock, several meters from the shore, while the mother remained in the distance, without taking action.


The Final Rescue:

My daughter and I decided to go meet the baby seal using our paddleboard. To our surprise, the little one dived alongside us and swam following us to shore. It was an amazing experience! We shared this wonderful story with our neighbors to inform them of our encounter.


Expert talk:

We immediately contacted SOS Marine Mammals again, and they arrived at dusk. As we stood nearby with icy wet feet as watchful guardians, the rescue team cared for the injured seal pup rejected by its community. He was transported to a rehabilitation center where he will be treated before being reintroduced into his natural habitat, the river.


Since that memorable encounter, every time we come across a seal having fun near us when we are paddleboarding, we like to think that it is our little friend who says hello and thanks us. This experience left a deep impression on us and reinforced our commitment to preserving marine life and protecting our beloved river.

Quebec harbor seals, also known as St. Lawrence seals, are an emblematic species of the region. They play a vital role in the ecosystem of the St. Lawrence River. Seal communities live along the region's coasts and islands, often congregating on sandbars or rocks to rest and breed.

However, these magnificent marine mammals face many challenges, including pollution, climate change, and disturbance from human activity. Plastic pollution in the river poses a major threat to seals and other marine animals. Plastic waste can be ingested by seals when they mistake the pieces for food, which can lead to injury and even death.

It is therefore crucial to raise awareness about the protection of these animals and their habitat. By cleaning the beaches, avoiding throwing garbage into the river and adopting environmentally friendly practices, we can help preserve marine life and ensure the survival of Quebec's harbor seals.

In addition, supporting organizations such as SOS Marine Mammals is essential. They work hard to save injured or distressed marine animals and to raise awareness of the importance of conservation.

Our encounter with the baby seal reminded us of the importance of harmonious coexistence between humans and nature. We have become aware of the fragility of this ecosystem and of our responsibility towards the species that depend on it. Every gesture counts, no matter how small, to preserve our river and its inhabitants.

In conclusion, protecting our river and preserving marine life is a duty incumbent on all of us. By acting together, adopting environmentally friendly behaviors and supporting conservation initiatives, we can guarantee a better future for the harbor seals of Quebec and for future generations. Let us always remember this magical encounter with our little seal friend, and let us be guided by respect and love for our beloved river.


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