Harbor seal pups die after beachgoers take them home

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Marine Advocates Issue Warnings on Seal Pups

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association has increased efforts to keep people away from harbor seals after two pup deaths this season.

A harbor seal pup died after a beachgoer in Westport, Wash. took it home in a tote bag, spurring new efforts from the NOAA to caution against interacting with wild animals.

The pup-abductor thought it was abandoned by its mother, so she took it upon herself to load it up into a bag labeled "Local Impact" and take it home. When she realized she had no idea how to care for a harbor seal, she called the Westport Aquarium for help. When they arrived, the pup was so stressed and unresponsive that it had to be euthanized.

In Garibaldi, Ore., a couple found a seal pup and assumed it was abandoned. They took it home and put it in their shower. Officials later returned it to the beach, but it was found dead the next day.

At least five times this season, officials have had to intervene when Oregon and Washington beachgoers illegally picked up seal pups. It's against federal law to disturb seals and sea lions, according to the NOAA, and it's common for seal mothers to leave their offspring unattended for hours while they hunt. The "No Selfies With Seals" campaign urges people to resist the impulse to get that perfect #beachday Insta and stay at least 150 feet from wildlife.

This comes shortly after a tourist put a baby bison in an SUV in Yellowstone National Park, thus covering it with people-smells and making it impossible to return to the herd.

"The best chance [wildlife] has to survive is to stay wild," Kristin Wilkinson, NOAA's regional stranding coordinator, told the Times-Standard — not in your shower, seriously.

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Seals rescued after storm in England
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal looks out from its cubicle as it rehabilitates in a ward in the animal welfare building at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal swims in a pool as it rehabilitates at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal eats a fish as it swims in a pool as it rehabilitates at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Fish are left to be feed to seals in the animal welfare building at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal looks out from its paddling pool as it rehabilitates in a ward in the animal welfare building at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal eats a fish as it swims in a pool as it rehabilitates at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal looks out from its paddling pool as it rehabilitates in a ward in the animal welfare building at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal with an injured eye looks out from its cubicle as it rehabilitates in a ward in the animal welfare building at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Staff at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch look after seals on a ward in the RSPCA West Hatch centre on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal looks out from its cubicle as it rehabilitates in a ward in the animal welfare building at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal sits besides a pool as it rehabilitates at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal swims in a pool as it rehabilitates at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal sits besides a pool as it rehabilitates at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal looks out from its paddling pool as it rehabilitates in a ward in the animal welfare building at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal barks beside a pool as it rehabilitates at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A white board displays details on seals in the animal welfare building at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal looks out from its cubicle as it rehabilitates in a ward in the animal welfare building at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal looks out from its cubicle as it rehabilitates in a ward in the animal welfare building at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal looks out from its cubicle as it rehabilitates in a ward in the animal welfare building at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal tugs a towel as it is fed in its cubicle as it rehabilitates in a ward in the animal welfare building at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Fish are left to be feed to seals in the animal welfare building at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal swims in a pool as it rehabilitates at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal eats a fish as it swims in a pool as it rehabilitates at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal looks out from its basket as it rehabilitates in a ward in the animal welfare building at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal swims in a pool as it rehabilitates at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal looks out from its cubicle as it rehabilitates in a ward in the animal welfare building at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Two baby seals look out from their cubicle as they rehabilitate in a ward in the animal welfare building at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A baby seal looks out from its basket as it rehabilitates in a ward in the animal welfare building at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on December 9, 2015 in Taunton, England. The Somerset animal sanctuary has had an influx of seals in recent weeks and more have arrived in the past few days after being washed up on beaches in the recent storms. Once spotted, the washed up seals are monitored by various animal rescue charities to insure that they are orphans. Once identified as in need, the seals, who are mainly rescued from beaches in Wales, are brought to the centre to be rehabilitated until such time that they are well and strong enough to be released back into the wild. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
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