A Seattle woman was surprised to find an Arctic ribbon seal on her dock. The rare sea creature was lying on her dock, hanging out and sleeping.
White ribbon seal, a seasonally ice-bound species, lives mostly in the northern waters off Alaska and Russia. Biologists say that there has never been a recorded sighting south of the Aleutian Islands except for a ribbon seal found on a beach just 200 miles north of Los Angeles in 1962.
On January 11, a woman in Seattle woke up to see the sea creature turned up on her property, about a mile from the mouth of the Duwamish River, a highly industrialized waterway that cuts through southern Seattle. The creature swam off and hasn't been seen again.
Matthew Cleland, district supervisor in western Washington for the USDA's Wildlife Services confirmed the sighting of the rare Arctic species and said:
She woke up and it was lying on her dock, hanging out and sleeping — just chilling. I thought, 'That's an interesting-looking creature. The ribbon seal, an adult male, looked to be in really good shape.
Ribbon seals are strongly associated with sea ice for mating, whelping pups and moulting from mid-March through June. Most of the rest of the year is spent at sea. Many conservation groups have been making efforts for the ribbon seals to be listed as an endangered species due to melting of sea ice in the Arctic.