A Seattle resident recently got a big surprise when she discovered a strange-looking furry visitor on her property.
“She woke up and it was lying on her dock, hanging out and sleeping — just chilling,” said Matthew Cleland, district supervisor in western Washington for the USDA’s Wildlife Services.
The sighting was “pretty exciting,” said Arctic seal researcher Peter Boveng, leader of the National Marine Mammal Laboratory’s Polar Ecosystems Program. “It’s really unusual.”
Boveng said the animals spend only a few months per year on sea ice, to molt and give birth, and have almost never been seen so far south. “So it’s a surprise, but knowing the species, it’s not a complete surprise to me,” he said. “They’re good travelers.”
Tip: @TetZoo Darren Naish on Twitter
It is a mystery how he got there but he appears to be in good health and swam there, was not just deposited by someone. There is a suggestion his appearance is related to the cold winds from Alaska that helped create the record winter storm in Seattle. He swam away and was not seen again.